....mighty oak trees grow. And from little hazel nuts, slightly less mighty hazels grow. This tiny purple leaved twig is actually not a seedling at all but a sucker and its pushed its way up through the leafmould and mulch around one of our purple filberts, Corylus maxima purpurea.
Purple filberts are closely related to (some authorities think co-specific with) the european hazels beloved of squirrels, dormice and, er, chocolatiers. Its also a cracking plant for the environmentally friendly gardener as these leaves are rather interesting, they mature to a more smokey, less garish shade. It will also produce purple hazel nuts (quite small ones but still purple nuts!) and rather thrives on neglect. I have used a number of these suckers mixed with normal hazel in our wildlife hedge as a dash of colour. Easy to get hold of and definately one worth thinking about in Europe.