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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Historical Notes on Hazelnuts in Oregon

Author
item Hummer, Kim

Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2001
Publication Date: August 27, 2001

Interpretive Summary: Hazelnuts or filberts have grown wild since the time of the glaciers. Indians in North America harvested these nuts for subsistence food. The early western explorers, like Lewis and Clark who traveled from 1804 to 1806, were given hazelnuts among other foods gathered from the wild. The first nurseryman in Oregon was Henderson Luelling. He imported hazelnuts from England and Austria. Some of these seeds were brought to Scottsburg, Oregon, in the mid-1850's. Three 150 year-old hazelnut trees can now be seen in this town. These are probably the oldest hazelnut trees in Oregon. In 1885, a Californian nurseryman, Felix Gillet, provided varieties of hazelnut trees to buyers throughout the Pacific Northwest. In 1900, George Dorris of Springfield was the first to establish a large hazelnut orchard in Oregon. Several years later others began growing orchards in locations near Portland. By 1950, growers in Oregon produced 5,350 tons of hazelnuts. This production has increased nine fold in recent years, making Oregon the third largest hazelnut growing region of the world.

Technical Abstract: Since the glacial age, Corylus L., the hazelnut (filbert), has provided food for indigenous peoples throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Corylus cornuta var. californica (A. D.C.) W.W. Sharp, native throughout Oregon and California, was eaten by the Indian tribes and was provided as survival food to explorers such as Lewis and Clark, in 1804 to 1806, and Botanist David Douglas, in 1825, during their journeys in this territory. Shortly after 1847, Henderson Luelling, an early Oregon nurseryman, first imported C. avellana L. 'Cob' filbert nuts from England and 'Red Aveline' nuts from Hapsburg, Austria. In the mid-1850's hazelnuts were brought to Scottsburg, OR. Three 150 year-old Corylus avellana trees can now be seen in this town. These are probably the oldest hazelnut trees in Oregon. In 1885, nurseryman Felix Gillet, a Frenchman who moved to Nevada City, CA, sold specific varieties of hazelnut trees throughout the Northwest. He distributed the cultivar 'Barcelona' which is widely planted in Oregon today. In 1886, George Steel bought 86 seedlings from Gillet for planting in Portland. In 1900, George A. Dorris of Springfield, OR, developed the first significant hazelnut acreage with the varieties 'Barcelona,' 'DuChilly,' 'White Aveline,' 'Red Aveline,' and 'Daviana.' In 1905, he brought more than 200 trees from J.B. Pilkington, a Portland Nurseryman. During the next two years, hazelnut orchards were started in Wilsonville, Gresham, Newberg, Dundee, and Dilley. By 1950, Oregon produced 5,350 tons of hazelnuts. This production has increased almost nine fold in recent years. The OR Expt. Sta. has been studying hazelnuts since 1908 & breeding them since 1920. The USDA has been involved in OR hazelnut research 71 yrs.

Last Modified: 9/3/2014
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