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Cobnuts
   

History

Cobnuts and filberts are cultivated forms of the the wild hazel. Cobnuts are generally regarded as being derived from Corylus avellana , the native European or Common Hazel, while filberts are descended from the Balkan Hazel, Corylus maxima. Both cobnuts and filberts begin cropping at a young age, and generally produce larger and sweeter nuts than the wild hazel. Crops are usually much heavier than occurs in the wild.

The words cobnuts and filberts have been used interchangeably for centuries, sometimes giving rise to confusion. Cosford cob, for example, is a form of Corylus maxima so may technically be regarded as a filbert! This mixing of names is largely due to the fact that the words cobnuts and filberts are much older than modern plant nomenclature. Filbert comes from the Middle English philliberd (Old French nois de filbert), after the feast day of St. Philibert on August 22nd. The feast day would coincide with the ripening of the nuts. The word cob comes from the Middle English cobbe, meaning round object.

In order to simplify, the words cobnut is used here to describe both cobnuts and filberts.

Cobnut trees will grow in most well drained soils, and once established will live for many years. The commerical cultivation of cobnuts dates back to the 1600s in England and France. Commercial production of nuts continues to this day in the United States and a number of European countries. On fertile ground, yields of 1-2 tonne per hectare are achievable.It is necessary to plant more than one variety of cobnut in order to achieve good pollination. One of the best pollinator is the variety Cosford.  The Common Irish Hazel may also work as a pollinator.

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