Common hazel (Corylus avellana) is a deciduous shrub or a small tree from the Birch family (Betulaceae). It originates in Europe and Western Asia.
Hazels have been cultivated for thousands of years and are even mentioned in the Bible. They were highly regarded by the ancient Greeks and Romans for their taste and nutritional value.
Hazelnuts are an important cash crop in many parts of the world, including Turkey, Italy, Spain, and the United States. They are an excellent source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, copper, and manganese. They are often used in baking, being the main ingredient in many desserts. Perhaps the most famous hazelnut product is Nutella.
Besides being a tasty food, hazelnuts are also used for medicinal purposes. Traditionally, to treat cough, skin irritations, and other illnesses.
Hazels are an important honey plant. In horticulture, bred varieties with larger fruits are grown, and cultivars with red leaves are planted in parks.
Hazelnuts serve as an important food source for wild animals, including birds, squirrels and other small mammals.