Herb: California Hazel

Latin name: Corylus cornuta californica

Synonyms: Corylus californica, Corylus rostrata californica

Family: Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Edible parts of California Hazel:

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.

Description of the plant:


8 m
(26 feet)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Damp slopes and banks below 2100 metres in California.

Other uses of California Hazel:

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.

Propagation of the herb:

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 20C. 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.

Cultivation of California Hazel:

Damp slopes and banks below 2100 metres in California.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Corylus cornuta californica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.