Corylus cornuta californica
The California hazel ( Corylus cornuta subsp. californica ) is most often treated as a variey of the northern species Corylus cornuta . The two may not be very closely related, however, differing conspicuously in habit, leaf shape, pubescence, the presence of glandular hairs, form and size of the involucre, habitat, phytogeography, and various other features. A thorough taxonomic study of this group should be undertaken[
Corylus californica (A.DC.) A.Heller
Corylus rostrata californica A.DC.
Corylus rostrata tracyi Jeps.
Common Name: California Hazel
Corylus cornuta californica is an open, spreading deciduous shrub or tree, usually with several trunks; it usually grows up to 8 metres tall, occasionally reaching 15 metres.The plant can sucker to form thickets[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
Western N. America - southern British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California
Damp rocky slopes and stream banks in coastal mountain ranges; at elevations from 1,000 - 2,500 metres[
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An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils, but is in general more productive of seeds when grown on soils of moderate fertility[
]. It does less well in rich heavy soils or poor ones[
]. Does well in a loamy soil[
]. Very suitable for an alkaline soil[
], but it dislikes very acid soils[
]. Plants are fairly wind tolerant[
Members of this genus bear transplanting well and can be easily moved even when relatively large[
California hazelnut does well in full sun to full shade, and prefers moist but well-drained, loamy, acid soils with plenty of
organic matter; it tolerates clay but not saturated soils. Plants are winter hardy to 0°F, and sprout readily from the root crown after top-kill by fire or other disturbance. It typically occupies damp rocky slopes and stream banks in the understory of coniferous or mixed hardwood forests at elevations up to 8000 feet in zones with mean annual precipitation of 14 to 100 inches[
Seed - raw or cooked[
]. Eaten fresh or preserved for winter use[
]. The seed ripens in mid to late autumn and will probably need to be protected from squirrels[
]. When kept in a cool place, and not shelled, the seed should store for at least 12 months[
An edible oil is obtained from the seed.
The nuts’ milk was used to cure coughs and colds, to heal cuts, and as an astringent[
A fibre is obtained from the inner bark and is used to make paper[
]. The branches are removed in the autumn, the leaves removed and the branches steamed then the fibre is removed[
]. The fibres are cooked for two hours with lye and then put through a blender[
]. It makes a brown paper[
]. The fibre is also used for cordage[
The roots can be used to make a bluish dye[
The long, flexible shoots can be twisted into ropes or used as the warp in basketry[
The wood was fashioned into miscellaneous small items such as spoons[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is harvested in autumn in a cold frame[
]. Germinates in late winter or spring. Stored seed should be pre-soaked in warm water for 48 hours and then given 2 weeks warm followed by 3 - 4 months cold stratification[
]. Germinates in 1 - 6 months at 20°c[
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame or sheltered place outdoors for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer[
Layering in autumn. Easy, it takes about 6 months[
Division of suckers in early spring. Very easy, they can be planted out straight into their permanent positions.