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May 022011
 
Hazel Tree Leaf

Hazel Tree Leaf

I’m very excited because today I found out that the trees which I thought were Alders were in fact Hazels. Edible. Delicious.

Yesterday a friend of mine said she saw a Hazel tree in the back of the garden and when I went to check it out, I realized that I had been thinking all this time it was an Alder. I was so busy with planting that I haven’t had a chance to check out the leaves and flowers that are springing up everywhere! Fortunately I didn’t cut down any of the so-thought Alder. If this little fellow was a Hazel, then that would mean I have dozens of Hazel trees on the działka. We love hazelnuts!

I asked my gracious and gentlemanly neighbor, “Is this tree a Hazel (Orzech Laskowy)?” He said yes. There are two massive bunches growing between the slow compost pile which hang well into his garden. He said nuts abound. In fact I had seen nuts on the ground nearby, but they were very degraded–I thought they were acorns. Huh. Now that I know the truth, it seems obvious.

Hazel Tree Bark (young tree)

Hazel Tree Bark (young tree)

The Hazel is pretty much an overgrown bush. The bark is fairly smooth with distinctive lenticels, or little ridges, spattered about. Most of the trees here are pretty old, I think, and still the trunks are not very thick, the widest being perhaps 15cm / 6in. Of course there are quite a few young trees as well, and the bark on a young tree doesn’t look that different from an older tree. Dozens upon dozens of shoots spring up from the branches in the spring–I used them to make a fence. They are very flexible and long.

Hazel Tree Male Catkin (old)

Hazel Tree Male Catkin (old)

Hazel Tree old nut

Hazel Tree old nut

Sadly, this year these trees don’t have any catkins or flowers. The only thing I see are male catkins from last year and a cool half-birth hazelnut that never fell off the tree. My neighbor said that the tree gives nuts off and on, every other year. If I understood him properly, always an uncertainty, he said that they gave nuts this past year and this year they probably won’t. Sadness.

It’s interesting how, once you identify a plant, it seems to be everywhere. I just saw a huge grove of Hazels this morning in Stare Włochy. They popped out at me. I didn’t see any buds on these either, so maybe it’s still too early to tell if the ones on the działka will give fruit this year.

Mature Hazel Tree

Mature Hazel Tree