IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native shrub is 4-15' tall and abundantly branched. It is usually multi-stemmed at the base, but sometimes forms a small trunk. The bark is gray and smooth on young branches, becoming more rough on older branches and/or the trunk. Young twigs are brown and often covered with reddish brown hairs. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 4½" across; they are oval-ovate and doubly serrate. The upper surfaces of the leaves are medium green and hairless to mostly hairless, while their lower surfaces have stiff short hairs. The slender petioles are up to 1/3" long and usually hairy. American Hazelnut is monoecious with male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers developing on the same shrub. These flowers develop near the tips of second-year branches. Immature male flowers are found on catkins during the fall, which persist through the winter; these catkins are narrowly cylindrical in shape. During early to middle spring, the male catkins become longer (about 2-4" in length) while drooping from their branches, and their flowers bloom. Each male flower on the catkin consists of a pair of tiny bracts and 4 stamens. The female flowers also bloom during early to middle spring. Several female flowers bloom together from a small swollen bud that is surrounded by protective bracts; only the red stigmata of the flowers are exerted beyond the bracts. Cross-pollination is achieved by wind.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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