Corylus colchica Albov - Colchidian filbert.

Taxonomic position.

Family: Betulaceae C.F.Gray; genus: Corylus L.

Morphology and biology.

Perennial shrub that grows up to 1 m tall. Young shoots are grey, covered with dense, silky hairs, but second-year shoots are glabrous. Leaf buds are oblong-ovate in shape, large, reddish brown, and pubescent. Leaves on densely pubescent stalks are about 1 cm long, oval in shape, rounded or sometimes cordate at the base, shortly acerate at the tip, bidentate and sharp along the edge, with 11-12 veins, impressed from above. Leaf blade is 5-7 cm long and 3.5-4.5 cm wide; covered with sparse hairs from above and densely pubescent along the veins from below. Stipules are lanceolate in shape, acuminate. Antheral aments are reddish brown, set in sinuses one by one or in twos, with ovate acuminate squamae. Fruit are single or clustered in groups. Involucre is unifoliate, pressed against the nut, villous, joined above the nut into a narrow, short beak with a slit, frequently leaving the topmost part of the nut unwrapped. Nut has shortened ovate shape, 13 mm in length and 11 mm in diameter. Blossoms in April; bears fruit in September. Wind-pollinated. Zoochore.


Endemic to Western Transcaucasia. Grows in Abkhazia (Bzyb Mountains) and Mingrelia (Georgia).


Forms thickets at the northern edge of the forest zone.

Utilization and economic value.

With its small fruit, Colchidian filbert is not promising as a cultivated nut-bearing crop. However, this inhabitant of severe environments of the northern forests is a very important source of frost-tolerance when hybridized with large-fruited species; consequently, it deserves wider utilization in breeding practices.

Reference citations:

Bush, N.A., ed. 1939. Flora of the USSR. Moscow-Leningrad: Publishing House of Acad. Science. V.5: 264-265. (In Russian)
Cherepanov S.K. 1995. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limicis USSR olim). St. Petersburg: Mir I Semia. 990 pp. (In Russian)
Grossgheim, A.A. 1945. Flora of Caucasus. Baku: Publishing House of Azerbaijan Acad. Science. V.3: 110, appendix.
Sokolov S.Ja., Svjazeva O.A. 1977. Atlas of areas of USSR. Leningrad: Nauka. V. 1: 110-111.

© Smekalova, T.N.


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