Herb: Filbert

Latin name: Corylus maxima

Synonyms: Corylus tubulosa

Family: Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Edible parts of Filbert:

Seed - raw or cooked. It is rich in oil. Large and well flavoured, it can be eaten raw, cooked in cakes, pies, breads etc or used to make a plant milk. 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:


6 m
(20 feet)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Woods, hedges and ravines.

Other uses of Filbert:

The seed contains up to 65% of a non-drying oil, used in paints, cosmetics etc. The whole seed can be used to polish and oil wood. Very easy and effective. Plants can be grown as a tall hedge. They need to be left untrimmed or only lightly trimmed if seed is required. Wood - soft, easy to split, not very durable, beautifully veined. Used for inlay work, small items of furniture, hurdles, wattles, basketry, pea sticks etc. The twigs are used as dowsing rods by water diviners. The wood also yields a good quality charcoal, used by artists.

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 Filbert:

Woods, hedges and ravines.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Corylus maxima:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.