Hazel is a small, multi stemmed tree of woodlands, grasslands and gardens that is regularly coppiced – the ancient practice of cutting the tree back to ground level every 8 years to provide a harvest of stems called poles. Trees can reach a height of 12m and live for up to 80 years, but if coppiced, live for several hundred years It is well known for its long, yellow catkins.
Hazel is monoecious, meaning that both male and female flowers are found on the same tree, although hazel flowers must be pollinated by pollen from other hazel trees. The yellow male catkins appear before the leaves and hang in clusters from mid-February. Female flowers are tiny and bud-like with red styles.
Hazlenuts can be eaten and each tree produces 20 to 25 pounds of hazelnuts per year and are eaten by woodpeckers, nuthatches, tits, wood pigeons, jays and small mammals and Hazel flowers provide early pollen for bees. The branches are suitable for crafting. Hazel has a reputation as a magical tree. A hazel rod is supposed to protect against evil spirits.