We all know hazelnuts are unique and special, but did you know how truly rare the life cycle of a hazelnut tree is? In the arboriculture world, hazelnuts are a special breed. The key difference is hazelnut trees are winter pollinizers.
Hazelnut trees have a female part–the flower–and a male part–the catkin. The catkins elongate throughout the winter months, and as the winter winds pick up, the gusts blow the pollen from yellow catkins to the tiny red flowers. Through this process the flowers are fertilized and remain dormant until late spring/early summer when the nuts begin to form. They start as small green clusters and grow into the iconic brown color.
This winter pollination process is relatively rare among trees and just one more thing that makes hazelnuts remarkable plants.