Identification: Corylus Cornuta/ Beaked Hazelnut

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest Native Plants' started by Chris Morris, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    Hello, I found a garden centre in North Vancouver that would order me a Beaked Hazelnut tree. I told the guy the one I wanted was Corylus Cornuta var. Californica, which is native to the west coast. I heard him order it on the phone using the proper name.

    When I picked it up two days later, the tag only said Corylus Cornuta, and the leaves looked a little different from the other Beaked Hazelnut trees I have seen in Burnaby.

    I asked him if he was sure this was Corylus Cornuta var. Californica and not Corylus Cornuta. var Cornuta and he said he assumed so because that exactly how he ordered it.

    Corylus Cornuta var. Cornuta or Eastern Hazelnut is supposed to grow in the wild from central B.C and grow pretty much right across the continent with some overlapping in B.C with var. Californica.

    I'm wondering if anyone has first hand knowledge of the two varieties and can tell by looking at the leaves which is which, I know the beaks on var.Californica are supposed to be shorter and the nuts bigger than var.Cornuta, but it may take years for mine to produce nuts. The guy at the garden centre also said sometimes small trees still in pots look different than larger trees.
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I agree, does not look like the local type.
     
  3. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    Here's some pictures of some Beaked Hazelnut trees in a park close to my house. These are Beaked Hazelnut trees for sure, no question about it as I can easily distinguish these from the European Filbert when there are nuts on the trees as the difference is quite striking. European Filbert is way more common around here.

    Both the tree I bought and the trees in the park had some tiny hairs an the twigs and petioles, but I had to use a magnifying glass to see them on the one that I bought.
     

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  4. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    Thanks for the reply Ron, so it's not just me. Wasn't sure if I was just being paranoid
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Why not collect your own nuts locally from native stands and grow those?
     
  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Open the species information tab on this page: Corylus cornuta to get a key to identifying the two varieties.
     
  7. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    I tried, but out of the handful I collected from three different trees, only one didn't float so I threw all but the one back where I found them.
    Also taking plants or even seeds from natural areas is not something I feel right about doing, I can see that it has some advantages but it also has some disadvantages and I'd rather buy them if they're available, but I don't judge people who do take native plants from natural areas. I also think that by asking for native plants it will in a small way encourage garden centres to stock them as most places that I've been to around here are a joke when it comes to the amount of native plants they sell as opposed to non native plants. It must confuse some tourists familiar with trees and plants why most of our street trees and trees and shrubs in parks are from other countries around the world.

    Thanks for the suggestion though, I may take a sucker from one in March when it's supposed to be a good time to do it. I spent nearly two months this past winter removing invasive plants from the park where I will get the sucker from, including a large English Holly growing up the center of the Beaked Hazelnut and Vine Maple growing together, so the way I look at it I've given much more to that park than I'm taking away.
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Always worth asking the owners of the trees you want to collect seeds from - it's unlikely they'll refuse, particularly if you've been helping them with clearing invasives. It is much easier than cuttings, too. Hazel nuts often float, even if well-filled; it is better to shake them gently in your hand and see if they feel 'heavy' (good) or 'light' (not good!).

    The difficulty with nurseries is - even if they are selling native species - is their seed locally sourced? Or might it have come from some commercial source at the other end of the species' range in California or wherever? The latter could be potentially more damaging to the local population's genetic structure than planting invasive aliens which at least won't hybridise with the local native. Until nurseries routinely give provenances of their plants, it's impossible to be sure.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Native plants have been in vogue in recent years, with many shoppers looking only for those - the selections some independent garden centers are carrying now probably far exceeds any such offerings made at any prior time in my decades of involvement with the industry here. And, yes, the seed source of any given batch may be from a different ecosystem sometimes even several states away - or perhaps farther, in the case of a species that grows all the way across the continent, such as Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (which even grows all the way across the hemisphere). So the problem of contaminating the genetics of local races with plantings of brethren from elsewhere is going to be well underway, whenever and wherever mixing may be liable to occur - some public plantings of "natives" are huge in extent, with large numbers of individuals being introduced to sites that often did not have all of these same species before - let alone all of the same genotypes. And I have seen interior species such as Rosa woodsii and even less appropriate Eurasian ones such as Salix purpurea (and probably Cornus alba) used repeatedly.
     
  10. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    Thanks for this. There is a picture by Kevin Newell showing a picture of a leaf of a californica that looks like the Hazelnut tree that I bought, also the nuts are quite a bit larger than the ones I've seen in my neighborhood, closer to the European variety growing around here. It's almost like it's the cornuta variation I've been seeing. The ones I've seen with nuts on them were quite tiny and had very long beaks, similar to the cornuta variation photos on the E-flora website.

    I'm just gonna plant the thing and wait and see what happens, and if it is the cornuta variety that does grow in my neighborhood, I think it would be swell to have both the californica and cornuta variation.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  11. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    Thanks you've given me something to think about. My original plan was to take a sucker from the Beaked Hazelnut tree closest to my house for this very reason, then I saw some small Fir trees at Dykhof Nurseries in North Van and asked what kind they were as I was looking for a Grand Fir. Turns out they were Douglas firs which I already have several of, but the guy told me he could easily order me one in, that's when I got the idea of asking him if he could get a Beaked Hazelnut.

    I collected a bunch of nuts from four different trees last fall when I was just getting interested in native plants, but over the winter, I discovered that there was a non native variety growing here and had to wait until this summer to re visit all the trees to see if any of them were true Beaked Hazelnuts, well none of them were, and since I've already been waiting a year to get one, and worrying the sucker I'm planning to get early next year might not live, I figured what the heck, I'll just buy one.
     
  12. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    There are some voluteer groups in the Lower Mainland that remove invasive plants and plant native plants and I've often wondered how they know that certain plants grew in certain areas before degradation by invasives and logging and how do they decide how many of each species to plant and so forth.

    Overall I think the work they do is good because many areas of the Lower Mainland have become so over run with invasive plants that to do nothing would be a shame.

    There is so much Himalayan Blackberry, tremendous amounts of Ivy growing on trees, Scots Broom, Lamium, Holly, Spurge Laurel, the list goes on and the worst threat of all in my opinion, Japanese Knotweed which is absolutely everywhere now.

    I've recently gone for walks along the Brunette River and Beecher Creek and there are acres of trees with Ivy growing on them from bottom to near the top, yet homeowners, and even cities keep planting it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Same situation down here (see A. Jacobson, Wild Plants of Greater Seattle - Second Edition, 2008), particularly on urban sites where there is a tendency for the spontaneous flora to be primarily Eurasian in origin - often the herbaceous plants and shrubs are exotic weeds, with only the trees being native.

    Except in comparatively pristine wooded parks and greenbelts.

    That ivy hasn't yet overrun.

    If you check you will probably find you are looking at Bohemian knot-weed rather than Japanese, most of the time. This hybrid is the dominant one here and has been noted to be the main kind in infestations elsewhere too. It resembles the Japanese knot-weed parent more than the giant.
     
  14. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    It could be, the media and some weed busters on different news stories have been calling it Japanese Knotweed.
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    That is usual.
     
  16. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    Here are some new photos. I'm starting to wonder if this is a type of Birch, and was mislabeled in the nursery. Does anyone agree or disagree, or does anyone know exactly what this plant is.

    Thanks for any thoughts on this.

    Chris Morris
     

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  17. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Certainly looks very like a birch! Likely a windblown seed landing in the nursery's hazel seedbed.
     
  18. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    Thanks Michael. Any guess as to what type it might be? I'm hoping it's native to this area, or at least not invasive.
     
  19. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    May be Silver Birch Betula pendula (European, invasive in BC), but not sure what similar birches might be native in the area.
     
  20. Chris Morris

    Chris Morris Active Member

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    Thanks again. Seems different than Silver Birch to me, I hope it's not that.
     
  21. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    The Corylus cornuta is one of the first pollens honey bees bring in after the New Year. So if anyone knows a source of small plants I'd like to get some and "donate" them around.

    Can I just put in a plug for all those European invasives? Sometimes they offer up food, not just for honey bees but all pollinators, when there is nothing else around. In particular the Japanese Knotweed, which is a spectacular looking plant and provides pollinator food when our area is in an extended late summer forage dearth.

    I get that we do not want to lose our native biome and biodiversity, and I am all for that. But development is the big offender driving changes in that regard, and nobody is suggesting we go back to a pre-Contact landscape.

    I'd like us to make some allowances for invasives that have some benefits (as opposed perhaps to Scotch Broom, which I confess I loathe with a passion) until we address restoring widespread pollinator forage.
     
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