Resources and production of hazelnut in China
China is a center of diversity for Corylus. Eight species are native to China: Corylus heterophylla Fisch., Corylus mandshurica Maxim., Corylus kweichowensis Hu, Corylus chinensis Franch., Corylus fargesii C.K. Schneid., Corylus yunnanensis (Franch.) A. Camus, Corylus ferox Wall. and Corylus wangii Hu. The distribution of Corylus species ranges from 24°31 to 51°42N, covering 24 provinces in China, and the total area is about 1.67 billion ha. Among the wild Corylus species, about 90% of the coverage is C. heterophylla (Pingzhen in Chinese), which is the most valuable and utilized wild Corylus species in China. In the past, local people harvested the nuts from the wild Pingzhen shrubs. In recent years, the local people have begun to utilize cultural practices to manage wild Pingzhen hazelnut plants to improve nut yield and quality. Cultivars of C. avellana (Ouzhen in Chinese) were introduced to China at the beginning of 19th century, but there is limited information where they can grow and produce well in China. Beginning in the 1980s, interspecific hybridization was conducted with C. heterophylla as the female parent and C. avellana as the male parent and the resulting hybrids are called Pingou (Pingzhen × Ouzhen) in China. The selected hybrids are cold hardy with large nut size and high yield. To date, 14 cultivars of Pingou hybrids have been released. Pingou hybrid cultivar trials in different regions were established starting in the year 2000. Commercial orchards were established beginning in 2010, mostly in northern China. By 2016, the acreage of Pingou hybrids was 50,000 ha and it will continue to increase rapidly in China.
Wang, G.X., Ma, Q.H., Zhao, T.T. and Liang, L.S. (2018). Resources and production of hazelnut in China. Acta Hortic. 1226, 59-64
Corylus species, Ping'ou hybrid hazelnut, cultivation