Are you interested in the unusual, or even the bizarre? If so, your curiosity (and that of your neighbors) might be piqued by the uniqueness of the contorted European filbert, a plant fondly known as Harry Lauder’s walking stick, a name that caught on in the early 1900s as world-famous Scottish comedian, Harry Lauder, was commonly seen utilizing a walking stick made from its gnarled and twisted branches.
This unusual shrub is a favorite of landscape designers looking to add interest to the landscape with a specimen plant that also makes a good focal point. Perfect for adding uniqueness to the fall, winter and early spring landscape, the contorted corkscrew branches surprise onlookers with a showy display of tan and yellow catkin flowers hanging down like an abundance of tassels in March.
Common Name: Harry Lauder’s walking stick, contorted filbert
Botanical Name: Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’
Soil: Well-drained, loamy soil; acid or alkaline.
Size: 8-10 feet tall and wide
Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Watering: One inch of water per week during the growing season
When To Fertilize: Fertilize in November or March, based on soil test results
Planting and Pruning: Plant from container or balled-and-burlapped fall or spring; prune rootstock suckers as they arise.
In Your Landscape: Interesting specimen plant/focal point in your landscape above perennial flowers, or in a large container on patio/deck. Add to cut-flower arrangements.
(Photos courtesy of Mike Klahr.)