Mike Klahr, Ph.D. is the Boone County Extension Agent for Horticulture for the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.


Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick
by Mike Klahr, Ph.D. - posted 11/18/11



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’

Type: Deciduous

Zone: 4-9

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.)


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