Saturday, December 15, 2012
Hazelnuts have been part of the human diet for 9,000 years. A large pit with thousands of hazelnut hulls was found in Scotland, radiocarbon dated to about 7,000 BCE. This was on the east coast of the small Hebridean island of Colonsay at Staosnaig. At that time, hazenuts were important in the diet, along with acorns and nettles (Archeology.about.com) Also "Based on the abundance of hazelnut shells found at Mesolithic sites in southern Scandinavia and Northern Germany it was proposed that these remains may testify to an important food supply rather than just the use as a supplement to animal protein."
After the last ice age, hazelnuts spread from Northern Turkey (Pontus to the Greeks) to other areas of Europe.
Plant Folklore, on Helium.com.
The ancient Greeks referred to hazelnuts as "karyon Pontin" for their plentiful availability in the mountains of Pontus.
Romans are known to have cultivated Hazelnuts, including in Britain.
The world's top producer of Hazelnuts is Turkey. In the US, the top producer is Oregon, followed by Washington.
Ordu Turkey. I think Hazelnuts are wind pollinated, however, because they bloom in winter.
In mythology, hazel wood is used for dowsing (finding water). Quoting from the blog Grannulus Grove, "The Celts believed hazelnuts gave one wisdom and inspiration. The Gaelic word for nuts are 'cno' pronounced 'knaw' and the word for wisdom, 'cnocach'...if a Hazel tree was unjustly cut down then the punishment was death." Glad I didn't cut down the hazel trees in my Vancouver yard, opting instead to move them to Battleground. Whew. From the same source, "Hazel trees were so abundant in Scotland that it was named Caledonia which was derived from Cal-Dun, meaning 'Hill of Hazel. In Norse mythology, the Hazel was known as the Tree of Knowledge and was sacred to the god Thor."
Hazelnut trees live about 50 years, but regenerate from the roots. So the large bush that results may have trunk or root hundreds of years old. This regenerative ability may be why the small trees that I moved seemed to split into 2 or 3 trees.
The Guide to Nut Cookery, 1898, by Almeda Lambert. " varieties which have long, fringed husks extending beyond the nut, are filberts; ...those whose husks are shorter than the nut, are hazels...derived from the Anglo-Saxon word haesel meaning a hood or bonnet."
Hazel Nut trees are more compact than most nut trees. They tend to be bushy, so can be used for a hedge row. Ultimate size about 10ft tall, 10ft across.... Hazelnuts spread by underground runners that develop roots. These runners can be cut away from the main plant using a sharp digging spade and planted in a new location. Also here.