The hazelnut tree is a honey plant. It is native to the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, and it grows most often in thickets, hedges, on the edge of woods, on hills, mountains and gardens, at altitudes up to 1500m .
The hazelnut tree prefers mild, fairly rainy winters and cool summers. It is relatively sensitive to drought and should be irrigated regularly if rain is scarce.
During prehistoric times, hazel trees covered immense thickets throughout Asia Minor. The Turks are also the first to cultivate hazelnuts.
The male flowers bloom very early in the year, between January and March, in hanging yellow catkins 5 to 6 cm. The female flowers are more discreet. They are distinguished from a wood bud only by the red stigmas that adorn them. On the same shrub, the male flowers bloom before the female flowers. The latter will therefore not be fertilized by pollen from their own tree, but by that of another later. The hazelnut cannot be installed in isolation because it needs another hazelnut nearby to give hazelnuts.
Rich in proteins, fibers and lipids of excellent qualities, the hazelnut is a very nourishing and satisfying fruit. Very highly antioxidant, hazelnut plays a role in reducing the damage caused by free radicals in the body involved in the onset of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and other diseases linked to aging.
The hazelnut also contains a high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids which tend to lower the "bad" cholesterol.
Its harvest is carried out from August to October depending on the varieties and the production area. Aquitaine, and more specifically Unicoque à Cancon, represents 98% of French production.
In the soil, the roots of the hazel tree live in symbiosis with certain fungi. It turns out to be a real host tree for a wide variety of truffle species. In the Center of France, there are often some Burgundy truffles at the foot of the hazelnut trees and in the Southwest and Mediterranean region they are rather black truffles.
Its beekeeping interest lies in its early flowering which greatly attracts foraging bees: the male flowers are very rich in pollen. They are a good source of food for the colony at the start of the season.