eginning this Thursday, August 5th and continuing through September 1 is the Celtic month of the Hazel tree. The Hazel is considered a tree of knowledge especially in Ireland. The nuts from the Hazel are considered to be a symbol of great mystical wisdom. There are 15 different species of the Hazel tree. The fruit which comes from the Hazel is the filbert nut or hazel nut as it is more commonly known.
The Hazel is more like a large shrub then a tree. Its average height is 12 to 20 feet. It is another tree like the Willow which prefers to live in damp places such as near ponds or streams. The nut which comes from the tree though will do better if it is grown where the land has good drainage.
The wood of the Hazel is a whitish red and has a close and even grain. Such items as walking stick, fishing rods, and baskets are often made from the wood. Another use is after the wood has been burned , the charcoal is used in the making of crayons and gunpowder.
The flowers of the Hazel appear in January, although sometimes they have been seen as early as October if they reside in the right climate. Both men and female flowers appear on the same tree yet in different and distinct clusters.
An Irish legend concerning the Hazel has been passed down through the ages. It is associated with the River Shannon. It is said that Connla’s Well which is at the foot of Culicagh mountain in County Cavan which is believed to be the source of the River Shannon. The well is said to be surrounded by nine Hazel trees, which produce both flowers and fruit (representing beauty and wisdom). As the nuts fall into the well, the salmon that live in the well then feed on them. The number of nuts that each salmon eats will then become the number of spots that will appear on their bodies. The salmon which come from the River Shannon are prized by fishermen. Many believe them to possess great wisdom because of the knowledge they received due to the nuts of the Hazel tree.