State big filbert tree in the Arb

A Turkish filbert (Corylus colurna) in Nichols Arboretum just earned the state Big Tree designation.

Michael Dority, a board member of the Michigan Nut and Fruit Growers Association and a U-M staff member in the Host Microbiome Initiative, takes walks in the Arb to unwind. On a recent outing he came across the tree and, recognizing it as a possible candidate for the Big Tree program, passed the information on to a certified forester, who took the tree’s measurements.

The filbert is more than a pretty face, however. It may help unlock the mystery of Eastern filbert blight (EFB), a fungal disease that attacks hazelnuts and has often thwarted the production of hazelnuts in the U.S. Researchers will take samples from this filbert in order to study resistance to EFB. According to our records—in this case two 90-year-old, handwritten index cards—this Turkish filbert was planted in the arboretum in the early 1920s, has a height of 82 feet, a circumference of nearly 97 inches, and an average crown spread of 84 feet.