Neighborhood Nature

Our Family's Nature Blog

Turkish Filbert? That’s a New Tree to Me! July 18, 2009

Filed under: Plants,Seasons,Spring,Trees — saltthesandbox @ 4:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

This morning, while walking past Eastgate Cafe on my way to Columbus Park, I noticed some strange green things on one of the outdoor tables:

These strange green things had me stumped until I check the Oak Park Tree Inventory.

These strange green things had me stumped until I checked the Oak Park Tree Inventory.

I looked up into the tree they seemed to have fallen from, and I saw heart-shaped leaves with lots of teeth. Some teeth looked bigger than others:

The leaves were heard-shaped and had lots of teeth.

The leaves were heard-shaped and had lots of teeth.

I was stumped! I had walked past this tree dozens of times and assumed it was something familiar, like maybe a kind of basswood. Obviously I had not been paying close enough attention!

Fortunately, the Village of Oak Park has published an inventory of trees planted along Village streets (2009 version available here as a large PDF file). I couldn’t find the Eastgate Cafe’s exact address in the Inventory, but I did come across an unfamiliar tree name–Turkish Filbert–that was found at other places along Harrison Street. So I googled around until I found some photos of Turkish Filbert fruits. Some of the photos looked kind of similar to what I found, and some looked like exact matches, like the photos found here and here.

Those photos came from an Oregon State University web page (here), which also listed several other species in the same genus (Colylus). Some of those had similar fruits, so I can’t say for certain that the Eastgate Cafe tree is Corylus colurna, the Turkish Filbert. However, it does seem to be of that genus. (Another name for this species is Turkish Hazel, but there are other kinds of bushes and trees called Hazels, so I’ll stick with the common name Filbert for now.)

You may recognize “filbert” as a kind of nut, also known as the “hazelnut,” and Turkish Filbert trees really do produce nuts that people can eat. However, Wikipedia says that Turkish Filbert nuts are too small and their shells are too thick for them to have much commercial value. (Other Corylus species, like Common Hazel, probably produced the nuts you’ve eaten.) Regardless, I’m going to visit this tree throughout the summer, hoping to find some ripe nuts that I can eat!

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Here are some additional web sites with information about the Turkish Filbert:

 

3 Responses to “Turkish Filbert? That’s a New Tree to Me!”

  1. Bonjour from Paris,
    Your discovery of Turkish Filberts is a bit like mine, but it took me 10 years of living on this street to notice them. Here’s how I wrote about them on a travel blog:
    http://francerevisited.com/blogs/?p=617
    Gary

  2. loobyluce Says:

    Thank you! I’ve had the same mystery to solve and your blog solved it for me. I’m in the UK and have confused all the teachers and children at my son’s school with the fruit of the Turkish Filbert just this morning!

  3. teresastokes Says:

    There is a whole row of these near where I live in Little Venice, London, and I am grateful to your page. I have picked lots of them and they certainly looked similar to a regular hazel nut but I was afraid to eat them, worried they might be some poisonous stranger until I found your page.


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