The hazel is a small tree, usually coppiced and therefore has multiple stems. A single, maiden tree that has not been coppiced (a standard) can live for about 60 years, but coppiced can live up to 500!

The leaves are arranged alternately around a stem, round in shape, and broadest near the tip. The leaf is hairy on the underside and on the stalk and is noticeably toothed.

 Hazel leaf

The male and female flowers are found on the same tree. The yellow male catkins open in early spring – sometimes known as "lambs tails".

Hazel Male catkins

The female flowers appear on the same branches as small pink/crimson tufts. Fertilised flowers may develop into brown nuts in the autumn (though squirrels often eat them before they ripen).

Hazel, female flowers

The young bark can show signs of peeling.

 hazel bark

 Developing hazel nuts:

 Hazel nuts

Later enjoyed by dormice!

 Nuts eaten by dormice

Comments on this article

Steve Kind 29 April, 2015

We have a single red hazel in our garden that I coppice for garden poles. It was naturally multi stemmed and was initially allowed to grow unchecked for 20 years. I have been trying - without success so far - to find out how often I can clear it - and if I can cut individual poles and let the remainder grow on? any advice would be appreciated :)

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