Hazel is one of the most widely known of Irish trees. This may relate to the fact that it is one of our most widespread woodland plants or maybe it is because its flexible branches had many uses in the past. Hazel rods were traditionally used as a fencing material, while they were also used for making eel or lobster traps. Hazel is particularly fond of growing on limestone type soils. Hazel usually grows as a multi-stemmed shrub growing between 1 to 6 metres. Hazel leaves are almost round, rather wrinkly, green and hairy. A commonly anticipated sight that is awaited each spring with great excitement, is the appearance of the yellow lambs’ tails or catkins. This is a great sign that the worst of the winter is behind us. Also many autumnal walks are spent hoping to spot some ripe hazel nuts. It is advisable to carry a nut cracker rather than using ones teeth for the purpose of opening hazel nuts!