Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Beaked Hazelnut - Corylus cornuta   Marshall
Members of Betulaceae:
Members of Corylus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Fagales » Family Betulaceae
DistributionPresent throughout the Mountains and nearly all of the Piedmont; however, of spotty occurrence in the eastern Piedmont, and seemingly absent in some northeastern counties (east of Granville County). Occurrence in Johnston County is apparently just into the western edge of the Coastal Plain.

This is one of the relatively few woody species that occurs from coast to coast. It is present in all southern provinces of Canada, and across the US south to PA, IA, and CA. In the eastern states it is limited nearly to the Piedmont and the Appalachian Mountains, south into southern AL.
AbundanceThis is an uncommon to locally fairly common species in the Mountains and east to the central Piedmont, but it is rare to locally uncommon in the eastern Piedmont. However, it is colonial and thus can occur in large numbers (hundreds of plants) at some favored sites.
HabitatThis is the dry soil counterpart to the “rich-soil” C. americana. It favors rocky or somewhat xeric upland hardwood or mixed forests, often on slopes. It may occur in forest openings, even at high elevations. Farther to the east it may occur on more mesic soil of upland hardwoods.
PhenologyFlowers in late winter or early spring, before the leaves unfurl. Fruits in September.
IdentificationThis is a fairly low-growing and colonial, deciduous shrub, ranging only to about 3 feet high. It has serrated, ovate leaves that are only slightly narrowed toward the tip, similar to those of C. americana but smaller in size, usually only 2-3 inches long, and more typically ovate in shape. The fruits are highly distinctive, but it can be difficult to find any on the shrubs, even in the late summer and fall. The nuts are enclosed in a long light green tube that can be over an inch long. Without the fruits, one can separate this species from C. americana by its shorter stature, barely to waist height, more colonial nature in a fairly dry setting, and smaller leaves typically less than 3 inches long.
Taxonomic CommentsNot surprisingly for a wide-ranging species, there are several varieties. However, the only one in the eastern states is the nominate C. cornuta var. cornuta.

Other Common Name(s)Beaked Hazel, Beaked Filbert
State RankS4 [S4S5]
Global RankG5
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