TREE OF THE MONTH
The Hazel Tree – Coll
The Hazel tree’s moon is the 5th August to 1st September. The Hazel is a member of the Birch family Betulaceae. The Haze tree likes to grow near ponds or rivers, streams but if grown on drained soil will produce more nuts. This tree will grow in most places and do well in forests, woodlands, gardens and hedgerows. It can grow to 30ft (9m). Coppicing the hazel seems to help the tree live longer and as there are many uses for the wood this was a tree that was often coppiced.
It has alternate leaves with sawtooth edges and is slightly hairy on its leaf surface. The bark is light brown in colour and will have breathing spores yellow in colour on the bark. The tree produces both male and female flowers, the male is the catkins and the female small flowers with red tassels. It fruits from May to October and the nuts will grow in clusters of up to four.
This tree is a good tree to tune you to nature and the Earth Mother. It helps to unlock knowledge and growth.
The wood from the hazel tree has many uses, dowser’s use the hazel wands for dowsing, staffs from hazel where seen as a symbol of learning and authority. This wood is flexible and sturdy hence it’s many uses many boats (coracles), panels for houses, hedges, shields, walking sticks, thatching spars and many more where made from the hazel wood. Some cultures believed the hazel to protect the wearer from lightening and often hazel sticks or wands were placed around the home for protection.
Associated with learning poetry and wisdom in ancient times, the legend of the Salmon of Wisdom says that the spots on the salmon indicate how many hazel nuts the salmon had eaten. The salmon residing in a Sacred Well surrounded by nine sacred hazel trees became wise after eating fallen hazelnuts, eating salmon was said to transfer the wisdom to the person who ate it. The number nine is strongly associated with the salmon and the hazel tree. It can take nine years for a hazel tree to first fruit its hazel nuts and is coppiced on a 7 to 9-year cycle.
Hazel nuts ground down was added to flour to makes breads, this was considered a great source of nourishment. Up to the first war children where give 14th September off to go and collect nuts to be eaten in November Nutcrack Night due to their high nourishment content as a preparation against coughs and colds.
Symbolism: Wisdom & Divination, Poetry & Science, Playfulness & Enchantment, Healing Arts
Stone: Topaz, Pearl
Deity: Hermes, Aemgus, Artemis, Diana
Folk Names: Coll
To clear a stubborn cough, finely powder the nuts and mix with water and honey. The leaves can be used in teas to treat such ailments as varicose veins, circulatory problems, fevers, diarrhoea and excessive menstrual flow. Hazelnuts are a good source of protein, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.