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Corylus avellana – Wikipedia

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**Botanical Description and Taxonomy**:
– Common hazel is a shrub reaching 3–8 meters tall, with deciduous rounded leaves that are 6–12 cm long.
– Flowers are monoecious, wind-pollinated catkins, and the fruit is a nut roughly spherical to oval, 15–20mm long.
– The scientific name avellana originates from the town of Avella in Italy, selected by Linnaeus from Leonhart Fuchss De historia stirpium commentarii insignes.
– The name is derived from Pliny the Elder’s encyclopedia Naturalis Historia.

**Distribution and Ecology**:
– Common hazel is found from Ireland to Iberia, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus, extending north to central Scandinavia and east to the central Ural Mountains.
– It is also present in the Caucasus, northwestern Iran, and provides food for various animals like Lepidoptera.
– The roots of hazel trees are used as hosts for mycorrhizal fungi, and the Black Truffle is found on the roots in the Mediterranean.

**Biochemistry and Health Benefits**:
– Hazelnuts are recognized as heart-healthy foods by the FDA and are associated with a low risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
– They contain phenolics like catechin, gallic acid, and flavonoids, providing various health benefits.
Hazelnut leaves and foliar buds also contain bioactive phenols.

**Cultivation and Hazelnut Byproducts**:
– Over 400 hazel cultivars exist, including Barcelona, Butler, and Ennis, with some being hybrids between common hazel and filbert.
– Commercial hazelnuts are mainly propagated from root sprouts, and ornamental cultivars like Contorta have received awards.
Hazelnut byproducts, including shells and skins, contain antioxidant phytochemicals and can be utilized for various applications.
Hazelnut oil extraction methods and nutritional value of byproducts are also significant in cultivation practices.

**Research and Miscellaneous Information**:
– Studies focus on hazelnut kernel antioxidants, hazel leaves as sources of antimicrobial compounds, and the nutritional value of hazelnut byproducts.
– Publications cover hazelnut cultivars, lipid and phenolic fractions, and the world hazelnut situation according to USDA.
– Additional information includes NatureServe data on Corylus avellana, RHS Dictionary of Gardening entry, and general hazelnut nutrition facts.

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