Nearly allied to the Turkish hazel (C. colurna), this species may be distinguished by its darker-coloured, much more persistently glandular-downy young shoots, leaf-stalks, and midrib; by the leaf-margins being more finely and evenly toothed (not lobed as in C. colurna); and by the base being more unequally, if not so deeply heart-shaped. It was introduced by Wilson about 1900 from Hupeh, China, to the Coombe Wood nursery. Wilson told me he saw it up to 120 ft high in a wild state, and Henry several times collected it in Hupeh and Szechwan. It bore fruit for the first time at Kew in 1922; husk glabrous except for some minute down, constricted above the nut into a short recurved beak 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long, irregularly toothed at the end. Entire husk bottle-shaped, 11⁄2 in. long, 1 in. wide. The leaves are up to 6 or 7 in. long, with as many as thirteen pairs of primary veins, downy on the veins beneath. The best specimens recorded in the British Isles are: Hergest Croft, Heref., 53 × 41⁄4 ft (1963), and Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, Eire, 56 × 41⁄2 ft (1966).
Corylus chinensis Franch.
SynonymsC. colurna var. chinensis (Franch.) Burk.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
† C. × vilmorinii Rehd. – A hybrid between C. chinensis and the common hazel, C. avellana, which arose in the Vilmorin collection at Les Barres before 1911, no doubt with the latter species as pollen-parent. Like C. chinensis, it makes a large tree, differing from it in the smaller leaves less cordate at the base and in the involucre of the fruit, which is not constricted above the nut, has laciniations that are very irregular in form, and is often split down one side. The oldest tree at Kew came from Vilmorin in 1924. Roy Lancaster has pointed out that the tree at Hergest Croft, mentioned under C. chinensis on page 724, is really this hybrid, as is clear from its fruit-involucres. This tree measures 70 × 51⁄2 ft (1985).