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The hazelnut, or filbert, is the fruit of plants in the genus Corylus of the birch family, Betulaceae. Of the ten major species, the most widely grown are the European filbert (C. avellana), the American filbert (C. americana), the Turkish filbert (C. colurna), and the beaked filbert (C. cornuta). Hazelnuts are deciduous shrubs or small trees (although some varieties may reach heights of 18 m/60 ft) native to the temperate zone. Native varieties grow wild throughout America but are cultivated only in areas that do not have late-spring frosts, since the flowers, which open in mild-winter and early-spring weather, are vulnerable to frost-kill. Most hazelnuts require more than one variety for pollination. They grow in a wide range of soils and are propagated by seed, layering, or grafting. Commercial production of hazelnuts in the United States is centered in Oregon and Washington. The major hazelnut-exporting countries are Turkey, Italy, and Spain.

Donald K. Ourecky
Grollier's Multimedia Encyclopedia

Click here to see this month's delightful recipe Hazelnut Pesto

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