American hazel Betulaceae Corylus
Leaf: Alternate, simple, with a doubly serrated margin, broadly oval with a heart-shaped or rounded base, dark green above and paler below, 2 1/2 to 5 inches in length, petiole with stiff, glandular hairs.
Flower: Species is monoecious; males are light brown 1 to 3 inch catkins, in clusters of two or three near branch tips, opening before leaves; females are inconspicuous with only bright red stigma and styles protruding from the otherwise gray-brown buds, appearing as short, thin, red threads, early spring.
Fruit: Edible brown nuts (1/2 inch diameter) enclosed in a hairy, leaf-like husk with ragged edges; initially green, ripening to a brown in late summer.
Twig: Slender, zigzag, light brown, with numerous stiff, red-glandular hairs; buds blunt, 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 shrub, often in clumps reaching 12 feet in height.
Looks like: beaked hazel - hazel alder - hophornbeam - common filbert