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Publication #FPS146

Corylus americana American Filbert1

Edward F. Gilman2

Introduction

Native to moist areas of the eastern U.S., American filbert goes unnoticed until the bright orange fall color brings the woods to life (Fig. 1). Plants grow no taller than about 12 feet, but can reach higher in a shaded location. The nuts are most attractive to wildlife, especially squirrels. Once they discover the fruit on a shrub, they can strip it in a day.

Figure 1. 

American filbert.


Credit:

Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Corylus americana
Pronunciation: KOR-rill-us uh-mair-rick-KAY-nuh
Common name(s): American filbert
Family: Betulaceae
Plant type: shrub
USDA hardiness zones: 5 through 9 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Origin: native to North America
Uses: hedge; border; mass planting; screen
Availability: grown in small quantities by a small number of nurseries

Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 8 to 15 feet
Spread: 8 to 12 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: coarse

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: serrate
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: yellow; orange
Fall characteristic: showy

Flower

Flower color: brown
Flower characteristic: spring flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: irregular
Fruit length: .5 to 1 inch
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown
Fruit characteristic: attracts birds

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems; not particularly showy
Current year stem/twig color: brown
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches

Other

Roots: sprouts from roots or lower trunk
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: aggressive, spreading plant
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

American filbert is not readily available in nurseries but when found can be planted in a shaded woodland setting to add color and fruit in the fall. It makes a nice surprise in the shrub border since it goes unnoticed, forming a green mass most of the year. It can also be planted along the foundation of a commercial building to soften the corners. It grows too tall for planting near a private home.

Provide moisture until the plant is established. Once established, it will survive and grow with little or no irrigation provided it is located in a moist area. It is as near to maintenance free as any plant.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are normally seen on this plant.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS146, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.