Origin: Europe

Family: Betulaceae
Subfamily: Coryloideae
Scientific Name: Corylus avellana

Folk Names: Cob nut, coll

Ethical Concerns: 70% of the worlds' supply of hazelnuts come from Turkey, where illegal child labour is commonly used to harvest them*


Element: Air
Day: Wednesday
Planet: Mercury
Zodiac: Gemini
Associated Celebrations: AutEx
Deities: Artemis, Boann, Chandra, Diana, Manannan, Mercury, Ogma, Thor

Parts Used: Nuts, wood

Magical Properties: Wisdom, protection, creativity, fertility, luck

Substitutions: Other nuts.


Evidence of the processing of hazelnuts have been found in Scotland dated to roughly 6,000 BCE

In Celtic mythology, hazelnuts were believed to give wisdom and inspiration. There is a myth in which 9 hazel trees grew around a sacred pool, whose nuts dropped into the water to feed the salmon, who absorbed their wisdom. A Druid teacher, hoping to become omniscient, caught one of the salmon and instructed a student to cook it for him. While cooking it, a drop of fat burned his thumb, and upon instinctively sucking on it, he gained the wisdom of the salmon. The student (Fionn MacCumhail/Finn McCool) went on to become a heroic leader.

In some European folklore and traditions, hazel was associated with deities of the sky, and believed to provide protection against storms, lightning, and fire. Mercury’s winged wand was said to be made of hazel.

“The Hazel Branch” from Grimms' Fairy Tales claims that hazel branches offer great protection from snakes.

Magical Uses


Part Used: Nut kernel
Extraction Method: Steam distillation
Flash Point: >350°C

Perfume Use: Base oil
Shelf Life: 12 months
Scent Description: Faintly nutty

Active Constituents: Rich in Vitamin E

Topical Use

Skin Types: All
Absorption Rate: Medium
Viscosity: Medium

Properties: Emollient, moisturising, regenerative, mildly astringent

Warnings: May cause a reaction in those with nut allergies.


Hazel trees are often grown as ornamental plants, particularly species/varieties with contorted stems, weeping branches, or purple leaves.

Traditional Uses:


The nuts are edible, eaten raw of roasted.

They are also frequently used in confectionery: to make praline, or in chocolate products. It is also used in a number of cakes and desserts throughout Europe. Italian company Ferrero, who are famous for making the choc-hazelnut spread Nutella (as well as Ferrero Rocher chocolates), use 25% of the world’s hazelnut supply.

Hazelnuts also flavour the liqueur Frangelico.


Powdered nuts are used as an ingredient in skin care products such as face masks.


‘Hazel’ refers to all (14-18) species, all of which produce edible nuts.

Type: Tree
Plant size: 3-8m (can reach 15m)
Leaves: Rounded leaves 6-12cm long with serrated edges, lightly hairy on both sides
Flowers: Early spring (before leaves): Male flower clusters are 5-12cm long and pale yellow, female are largely concealed in the buds, but bright red
Fruit: Produces nuts 1-2.5cm long/wide

Etymology: The genus name Corylus comes from the Greek korys (‘hood’), in reference to the shape of the husk that covers the nut. The name hazel also refers to this, coming from the Anglo-Saxon haesel, for ‘bonnet’

In the Garden

Type: Deciduous tree (can be grown as a hedge)
Sow: Winter
Light: Full sun/partial shade
Soil: Well-drained

Companion Planting: Crimson clover (and other legumes): contributes to soil fertility and attracts pollinators.



Whewell, Tim (2019, 18 September); Is Nutella made with nuts picked by children?; BBC News