Careful: Nuts lurk in the park

July 29th, 2014         1 comment

The light green sheaths become papery when the nuts mature in autumn

The dark green leaf of the Hazelnut is nondescript until autumn when it becomes readily identifiableThousands of people hike the half mile trail through Brighton’s millpond park but few of them notice the shabbily dressed youngsters hiding in the foliage. These bizarre beings are (curiously) all named Filbert, but they aren’t escapees from institutions.

TLime green nut sheaths against dark green leaves on a Hazelnut shrubhey are the children of several American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) trees. I’ve photographed them many times since starting this blog. At first I thought they were some sort of insect gall or disfigured leaf because they are so oddly shaped. Once I discovered they were edible nuts, I couldn’t wait to taste them, but each year they vanish before ripening. The squirrels and chipmunks know a good thing when they find it, selfish little bastards.

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