Hybrid Hazels (Corylus americana x avellana)


Hybrid hazelnuts grown from seed in air prune beds, sourced from mature mother trees near Ithaca, NY.

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Hybrid Hazelnuts grown from seed

Found in bountiful hedges at organic student farm. Grown from seed, these trees are diverse, tough, and largely well-adapted to conditions near Ithaca NY (hardiness zone 5a, likely good in zones 4-9). Diversity offers resilience and makes these trees more suitable for home plantings; these are not great for large commercial plantings, due to differences in when nuts will be ready to harvest and how variable their shell and kernel characteristics will be. To the best of my knowledge, the mother trees of these seeds descend from Badgersett Research Farm in Minnesota (quoted below).

[Regarding the need for deep adaptation amid climate chaos and environmental degradation:] β€œIn the face of despair, I say: Adapt. Why not? Humans have a bone-deep primal need to be useful to our families, our villages. Doing nothing of value kills us, fast or slow. I contend that working to find a way forward is useful. And will be satisfying. Do hazels, and/or their hybrids, have characteristics that might help them to survive in potentially semi-chaotic weather and climate? In fact, they do, and not entirely by accident. Although I originally conceived my quest for a new food crop as an answer to agricultural problems such as erosion, water degradation, and loss of biodiversity, I looked for species that were tough under multiple threats, too. It turns out some of the characteristics that hazels evolved were to cope with disturbed climates.”

– quote from Philip Rutter of Badgersett Research Farm, via https://mainegardendesign.com/neo-hybrid-hazels/

A nice article on the relationship between hazels and many generations of temperate-climate peoples: https://www.shelterwoodforestfarm.com/blog/the-lost-forest-gardens-of-europe

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