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Corylus americana American Filbert

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


Native to moist areas of the eastern United States, American filbert goes unnoticed until the bright orange fall color brings the woods to life. 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.

Full Form - Corylus americana: American filbert
Figure 1. Full Form - Corylus americana: American filbert
Credit: Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS


Full Form, Fall - Corylus americana: American filbert
Figure 2. Full Form, Fall - Corylus americana: American filbert
Credit: Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS


Leaf - Corylus americana: American Filbert
Figure 3. Leaf - Corylus americana: American Filbert
Credit: Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS

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 (Figure 4)

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

Invasive potential: aggressive, spreading plant

Uses: hedge; border; mass planting; screen

Availability: grown in small quantities by a small number of nurseries

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 4. Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 8 to 15 feet

Spread: 8 to 12 feet

Plant habit: round

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: coarse


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 color: brown

Flower characteristic: spring flowering


Fruit shape: irregular

Fruit length: 1/2 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


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


Roots: sprouts from roots or lower trunk

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding

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.

Publication #FPS146

Date:October 9th, 2023

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