Oregon State Nut


Hazelnut: Oregon State Nut

(Corylus avellana)

Adopted in 1989.

The Oregon state legislature designated the hazelnut, (Corylus avellana,) as the Oregon state nut in 1989, recognizing the economic and historical significance of Oregon's hazelnut farmers. Oregon farmers produce less than 5 percent of the world's hazelnuts but 99 percent of the national crop. Hazelnuts have been traditionally known as filberts in Oregon, but the Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board adopted "hazelnut"in 1981 to reflect more common terminology. Oregon farmers began importing European varieties of hazel trees as early as 1876. By the 1920s, there was a notable industry. There are fifteen species of hazel and filbert shrubs and trees in the genus Corylus, including a variety native to the western United States (Corylus cornuta var. californica). Native Americans ate the nuts of the native hazel, which is an understory shrub common in Northwest forests.

The Oregon hazelnut, unlike wild varieties, grows on single-trunked trees up to 30 or 40 feet tall. Adding a unique texture and flavor to recipes and products, they are preferred by chefs, bakers, confectioners, food manufacturers and homemakers worldwide.

Oregon State Nut: Hazelnut

Hazelnut: Oregon State Nut

The State of Oregon produces about ninety-nine percent of the entire US commercial hazelnut crop.

The "Oregon Hazelnut", unlike the wild varieties of this nut, grow on single-trunk trees which reach about 30 to 40 feet in height.

This nut adds a unique texture, and flavor to all kinds of recipes. Hazelnuts are preferred by chefs, bakers, confectioners, food manufacturers, and homemakers worldwide. Not far from where I live is a Hazelnut Candy Factory.

The University of Portland says that a potent anti-cancer agent has been found in Hazelnuts. The article I read states that this could be an alternative soure of Taxol#174, more commonly known as paclitaxel. This is the first report of this chemical being found in any tree other than a yew tree. They also say that this could possibly decrease the price for this drug. The study began as a search for a compund that made certain hazelnut trees resistant to a plant disease. The chemical was found not only in the nuts, but in the branches, and shells as well.

Based on chemical analysis, their is not enough paclitaxel in a handful of raw hazelnuts to make a difference medically, so don't run out and stockpile hazelnuts. They have not researched roasted hazelnuts, and are skeptical of any significant amounts of the chemical being found in hazelnut-flavored products like coffee, tea and candy.

Characteristics of the Hazelnut

Hazelnut: Oregon State Nut

A hazelnut is the nut of the hazel and is also known as cobnut or filbert nut according to species. A cob is roughly spherical to oval, about 15-25 mm long and 10-15 mm in diameter, with an outer fibrous husk surrounding a smooth shell. A filbert is more elongated, being about twice as long as it is round. The nut falls out of the husk when ripe, about seven to eight months after pollination. The kernel of the seed is edible and used raw or roasted, or ground into a paste. Hazelnuts are also used for livestock feed, as are chestnuts and acorns. The seed has a thin, dark brown skin, which is sometimes removed before cooking.

Genus name: Latin name for hazel

Origin: Widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere.

Common name: Hazelnut, Filbert, Cobnut, European Filbert

Plant: Large shrubs (10-15 ft) in Europe, but trained to a single trunk in the Pacific Northwest to facilitate mechanical harvest. Trees begin bearing when 3-4 years old, and can bear for up to 40-50 yr. Trees commonly produce 20-25 lbs of dried nuts each. Leaves are 2-3" long, broadly ovate, acuminate, slightly lobed with doubly serrate margins.

Flowering, pollination: Monoecious, dichogamous habit, female flowers are borne in head-like inflorescences terminally on short shoots developing from lateral buds on 1-yr wood (borne on current season's growth, although it appears to be 1-year-old wood as extension growth at flowering is severely limited). Male catkins are borne from unmixed lateral buds on 1-yr wood. Most filberts are self-unfruitful.

Flowering habit is unusual. Both and flowers are initiated the summer prior to harvest. Female flowers lack perianth and ovaries at the time of pollination in mid-January to mid-February; the pollen tube grows to the base of the style and becomes quiescent until 5-6 months later (June), when the ovary and ovule develop. Fertilization then takes place in July, and the nut rapidly develops, maturing by late August.

Fruit: A nut in clusters of 1-12; shape varies from round to oval, to oblong, and resembles the appearance of an oak acorn. The pericarp is hard, loosely covering the smooth to shriveled kernel. Nuts are surrounded by a green, leafy husk (involucre), and abscise from the base of the husk in late august. However, the husk does not release the nut until 6 weeks later when it dries and opens.

Oregon Law

The law designating the Oregon grape as the official Oregon state flower is found in the Oregon Revised Statutes, Title 19, Chapter 186. Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 5 is cross-referenced in chapter 186.

CHAPTER 186. State Emblems; State Boundary.

Hazelnut recognized as official nut, SCR 5 (1989)

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Hazelnut

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
    Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
    Subclass: Hamamelididae
Order: Fagales
Family: Betulaceae - Birch family
Genus: Corylus L. - hazelnut
Species: Corylus avellana L. - common filbert

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