Corylus avellana, hazelnut or common hazel
Well known for its edible nuts. Often planted in gardens and parks, and wild plants are also not rare. Hazelnut is also a much appreciated plant for phasmid breeders, as most phasmids that eat bramble will also accept hazel.This shrub can easily reach a height of 8 or 10 meters, a maximum of 15 meters is exceptional, but not uncommon.
The leaves are deciduous and will drop with the first frost.
Leaves are soft to the touch because of the tiny hairs that are placed on both surfaces.
Flowering in late winter-early spring, the flowers are pollinated by the wind that carries the tiny pollen across from one shrub to another. (monoecious withsingle-sex wind-pollinated catkins) The fruits (nuts) are produced in clusters and each of those are concealed in so called husks.
A very important hostplant for lots of butterfly species, and the nuts are eaten by many animal species, such as squirrels, mice and birds. A food plant that doesn't require a lot of attention and will happily accept any soil type, as long as the soil is not too wet.
Perfect food plant for phasmids as it is very nutritional and spineless. Grows very fast, 2 years after planting, once the roots are established. Grows best in sunny places, but full shade is ok too.
They do prefer a somewhat sandy soil type though, as this type of soil is often well drained and won't stay soggy for long.
Native to Europe and parts of Asia, Turkey, Cyprus, the British islands and large parts of Scandinavia.
Some species even prefer hazel and will eat those leaves first, even when healthy bramble is available as well.
I do advise not to feed hazel solely, as it might cause diarrhea of some kind, asthe leaves are very soft (not too much fiber I suppose) and contain lots of water.