It’s been a long time since I’ve walked through my Orphaned Woods. I’ve been avoiding the ticks which come back out this time of year. But It’s been so cold, I thought I give it a try today and see if the ticks had gone to bed for the winter.
It turned out they didn’t, but I’m still glad I took the walk when I did. Because I saw something I would have missed if I’d waited any longer.
I found out what a mystery tree was that I’d been trying to identify all spring and summer.
Turns out it’s a Hazel Nut Tree.
This one is a gathering of thin tree trunks, that were hanging over the path by the small waterfall. I noticed it because the leaves and seed pods were unusual. Now I can’t even remember what they looked like, but I know they caught my attention.
These small trees were bare when I passed them today, except for four empty nut casings and two full ones. The full ones were pealing back, the hazelnuts cupped inside of them. The perfect display for my amateur eyes. If I had any doubt that they were hazelnuts, that ended when I plucked one from the casing and broke it open with a rock and ate it.
It was small, but tasty, not the least bit bitter.
Now when the spring comes I can watch the tree and see what kind of flower or seed pod it puts out. And then I know what the leaf looks like too. So after that, I’ll be able to identify a hazelnut tree any time of the year.