E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Corylus cornuta Marshall
beaked hazelnut (California hazelnut)
Betulaceae (Birch family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bob Thacker  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #88131)

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Distribution of Corylus cornuta
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Species Information

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Deciduous shrub, 1-3 m tall with many stems, densely clumped or spreading by suckers; twigs sparsely to moderately hairy, sometimes glandular.
Alternate, deciduous, elliptic to oval, leaf blades heart-shaped with a sharp-pointed tip, doubly saw-toothed, paler below than above, 4-10 cm long, turning yellow in the fall.
Male flowers in catkins appearing before the leaves in spring; female flowers in a very small catkin with protruding red stigmas.
Edible hard-shelled nuts completely enclosed by bristly bractlets, in 2's or 3's at the end of branches, barely 1.5 cm long, thinly hairy or glabrous.
Two varieties occur in BC:

1. Involucral beaks about twice as long as the fruit; silicles thinly short-hairy; twigs sparsely hairy............... var. cornuta

1. Involucral beaks about equal in length to the fruit; silicles glabrous; twigs hairy, sometimes glandular............... var. californica (A. DC.) Sharp

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic sites in the lowland and montane zones; var. cornuta - common south of 57degreeN east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, var. californica - frequent on S Vancouver Island and the lower Fraser Valley, becoming rare to the east; E to NF and S to GA (var. cornuta) and E to ID and S to CA (var. californica).

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Corylus cornuta

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 1 666 1687
Slope Gradient (%) 0 26 235
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 205 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(1), BWBS(5), CDF(5), CWH(32), ESSF(1), ICH(564), IDF(121), MS(2), PP(7), SBPS(1), SBS(77)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane. transcontinental North American deciduous shrub. Occurs in cool temperate and cool mesothermal climates on moderately dry to fresh. calcium-rich and nitrogen-rich soils (Moder and Mull humus forms). Sporadic in disturbed forests on water-shedding sites; its occurrence decreases with increasing latitude and precipitation. and increases with increasing continentality. Characteristic of young-seral broad-leaved forests.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool temperate & cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Corylus californica (A. DC.) Rose
Corylus cornuta subsp. californica (A. DC.) E. Murray
Corylus cornuta var. glandulosa B. Boivin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References