©BSNHS 2014

Galls are also found on Hazel, one common one which is noticeable now is the large swollen buds on twigs and is the work of the gall mite Phytoptus avellanae commonly refereed to as "big bud" contains hundred of mites.

The catkins themselves are even attacked by gall mites causing swollen areas on immature catkins  both Contorinia coryli and Phyllocoptruta coryli are causes of this.

Hazel  (Corylus avellana) a member of the Betulaceae family.

Is it a tree or a shrub? If the dictionary is anything to go by it would be classed as a shrub but if allowed to grow naturally will make a small impressive tree up to 8m in height, unlike most hazels which have been coppiced at some point and is usually found as under-story in Oak and Ash woods. Coppice stools can be as much as 400 years old.

An indigenous tree Hazel was one of the first trees to grow in the British Isles soon after the last ice age.

A monoecious tree of which the male flowers -known as lambs tails-appear in autumn as small green compressed catkins, elongating to shed pollen as early as mid February and is one of the earliest trees to flower, female flowers bright red on the tip of a single bud are hardly noticeable, are wind  pollinated.

Hazel fruits are the well known "cobs"  that are a food source for birds,mice and grey squirrels. Dormouse (Muscardinus avellenarius) is particularly reliant on the Hazel.

Hazel has 106 species of phytophagous insects and mites associated with it, a few are micro moth of which the larvae whilst feeding mine out patterns which can be seen on mature leaves in summer.

Phytoptus Avellanaef

February Tree of the Month - Hazel

Male catkins

Hazel  (Corylus avellana)