Hazel Tree Symbolism and Meanings

 6 min read

The hazel tree (Corylus) is held sacred in many cultures and can often be found growing near holy wells in England. In addition to being revered by ancient gods, the hazelnut was treasured as a food source for its delicious taste and high protein content.

Hazel tree symbolism has been essential in many cultures and religions throughout history. Its meaning and significance will be explored below.

One of the most important symbols associated with the hazel tree is that of wisdom. This association likely stems from the fact that hazelnuts have long been a valuable food source for humans, providing a rich source of protein and nutrients.

Thus, the hazel tree has come to be associated with intelligence and learning.

Symbolism:Playfulness and enchantment
Divine Associations:Silvanus (Roman), Mabon (Welsh)
Astrological Association:Mercury
Superstition:According to a 19th-century German belief, witches resided in the bark of hazel trees. As a result, only peeled branches from these trees were allowed inside churches.
Historical Spotlight:Pope Pius II, whose birth name was Silvio, noted the hazels in the Via Appia (near Rome) and Albanian mountains provided splendid walks for poets. He further commented that these locations were home to Muses and nymphs, as well as Diana herself. It’s no surprise he felt this way.

About Hazel Trees

Hazel Tree
Hazel Tree

Corylus is a genus of around ten types of deciduous, monoecious shrubs and small trees found in cooler climates. The leaves grow alternately and are usually ovate with double teeth along the edges.

Male flowers appear on drooping catkins before the arrival of leaves, whereas female flowers develop into fruits (nuts) which mature at the end of branches and come with leafy involucres.

Two widely known species include American hazel (C. americana), native to eastern North America, and European hazel (C. avellana). They are grown for their edible nuts as well as decorative purposes.

Practical Uses

The hazel tree has a wide variety of uses among Native North Americans, from medicinal purposes to being used as food. It was also utilized in the creation of baskets, and the Chippewa and Ojibwa tribes use hazel twigs for drumsticks.

In Europe, it used to be an important coppice tree, providing leaf fodder as well as flexible poles and sticks for basketry and fencing, along with wattle-and-daub walls.

Water diviners use forked twigs of hazelnut trees for their divining rods. Lastly, hazelnuts are popular snacks worldwide.

Natural Healing

The high tannin levels in hazel leaves give them natural astringent properties, making them ideal for treating diarrhoea. Hazelnuts are also a great source of protein, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

They contain a minimum of 50% oil – which is both nourishing and delicious! Try adding hazelnuts to your salad dressing or using their oil as part of a massage treatment for dry skin.

Folklore, Myth and Symbol of Hazel Trees

Hazel Nuts
Hazel Nuts

Did you know that hazel’s original Latin name was sylvestris? This references Silvanus, the forest god from ancient times. The Dinnshenchas is an early Irish topographical treatise mentioning the “poet’s music-haunted hazel” as well as “nine hazels of Crimall the sage”.

These are said to stand due to magic spells in Gaelic Celtic tradition. Interestingly, these magical trees reproduce flowers and fruits (beauty and wisdom) simultaneously like how poetry does.

The search for the divine child, Mabon ap Modron, in Welsh myth demonstrates that wisdom does not come from age or experience, but from simplicity and innocence.

In the story, King Arthur and his companions follow a salmon to a hazel tree where they find the boy underneath.

The Celts saw hazels as trees of knowledge because this story showcases that knowledge can be found anywhere if you look hard enough.

There are many myths associated with the hazel tree. Its large, downy leaves are a popular food among wild deer.

Hazel Tree Symbolism and Meanings

Hazel Leaf
Hazel Leaf


The Greek god, Mercury, who is the god of communication was given a hazel caduceus from the god of harmony.

People say that he used it to give blessings of peace and communication to all humankind.


If you’re looking for underground water or buried treasure, hazel branches are traditionally used to dowse.

It’s said that they work best when cut from the tree at sunset or sunrise while facing east. And if you want an extra potent rod, try cutting it the day before Midsummer.


According to German tradition, the hazel tree is a symbol of immortality. The delicate blossoms in late winter or early spring are associated with Thor, the god of wisdom.

Contemplating a hazel tree can help us remember our true eternal nature and divine spark of infinite light.


Drawing similarities to the Magician card in a tarot deck, hazel has the power to draw magic down from the unseen realm and bring it into our physical world. Wands used by Jewish magicians were said to be made of hazel wood.

Hazel speaks about finding balance in dualities, such as yin and yang, masculine and feminine, and light and dark. By being aware of this duality, we can create positive change; an essential element of Eastern and Western magical traditions.


The Celts believed that hazelnuts were powerful symbols of wisdom. The Salmon of Knowledge was a regular fish who obtained all the world’s wisdom after eating nine hazelnuts from the trees around the Well of Wisdom.

Later, a servant boy named Fionn mac Cumhaill (pronounced Finn McCool) was cooking the fish when his master asked him to check if it was done.

He burned his thumb and licked it, at which point he became wise beyond measure. Eventually, he grew up to be a legendary hero.


What is Hazel the Goddess Of?

In Celtic mythology, Hazel is considered the goddess of wisdom and inspiration. She is often depicted as a source of knowledge and guidance for poets, scholars, and other creative individuals.

Hazel trees were also seen as holy in ancient Celtic cultures, with their nuts believed to have intellectual and prophetic powers. In some myths, Hazel is even responsible for creating pools that are filled with divine inspiration and knowledge.

By honouring Hazel and her symbols, it was believed that one could tap into their creative talents and improve their understanding of the world around them.

Hazel remains a powerful symbol for those seeking wisdom, inspiration, and creativity in modern times.

What is the Fruit of the Hazel Tree?

The fruit of the hazel tree is commonly referred to as a “hazelnut.” These small nuts have a smooth, hard outer shell, and a creamy white inner kernel.

While they are most commonly found in their raw form, hazelnuts can also be roasted, ground into a paste (known as hazelnut spread), or used as an ingredient in various sweets and baked goods.

The hazel tree itself is deciduous, has green leaves with serrated edges, and produces male and female flowers on separate plants.

In addition to being eaten as a snack or used in cooking, hazelnuts are also high in essential nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium.


The hazel tree is a special tree with many different meanings and symbolism attached to it.

If you are ever looking for a way to express yourself, consider using the hazel tree as a symbol.