beaked hazel Betulaceae Corylus
Leaf: Alternate, simple, oval to broadly ovate, 2 to 4 inches long, doubly serrated margin, heart-shaped or rounded base; dark green and slightly fuzzy above above, paler below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; males are preformed, light brown-gray catkins (3/4 to 1 inch long) in clusters of two or three near branch tips; females are inconspicuous with only bright red stigma and styles protruding from the otherwise gray-brown buds, resemble short, thin, red threads; appearing or elongating (males) in early spring before the leaves.
Fruit: Edible brown nuts (1/2 inch diameter) enclosed in bristly, leafy husk with a long protruding tube-like "beak" (resembles a gourd), initially green, ripening to a brown in late summer.
Twig: Slender, zigzag, light brown and hairless; buds small with few scales, two-toned, light grayish brown with scales near base being darker brown.
Bark: Light grayish brown and smooth, later develops a mild criss-cross netted pattern
Form: Small suckering shrub, often in clumps reaching 6 feet in height.
Looks like: American hazel - hazel alder - hophornbeam - thinleaf alder