The hazelnuts (Corylus spp.) are some of the most useful plants known to humanity. Corylus avellana, the most common species, is naturally distributed from Britain to Russia, from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, and across to Iran in the east. It is now cultivated in Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa and Australia. Hazelnuts are supremely adapted to a wide range of soil types and environments. Their nuts and wood have been used for at least 9,000 years and mythologies have developed around these revered plants. Wild species have been selectively bred to produce edible nuts but almost every part of the plant, including bark, husks, leaves, nuts, roots, shells and wood, is utilized. Uses include aesthetics, alcoholic beverages, animal husbandry, biofuels, carbon sequestration, craftwork, farm implements, fertilizer, food, food production, health products, industrial chemicals and products, oils, pharmaceuticals and wildlife habitat.