Corylus avellana 'Contorta'
Common Name: Harry Lauder's walking stick
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Betulaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 8.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Yellowish brown (male)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Other: Winter Interest


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. This cultivar is usually sold in a grafted form, so root suckers should be promptly removed since they will not exhibit the characteristic contorted form. Periodic thinning may help accentuate the contorted form.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Harry Lauder's walking stick (also sometimes commonly called corkscrew hazelnut) is a European filbert cultivar that was discovered growing in an English hedgerow in the mid-1800s. This deciduous, rounded, multi-stemmed shrub which typically grows 8-10' tall features, as the cultivar name suggests, twisted and spiraling branches, twigs and leaves. Monoecious (separate male and female flowers on the same plant). Male flowers appear in spring in showy, 2-3" long, yellowish brown catkins. Female flowers are insignificant. Although the species is commonly grown commercially for nut production, this cultivar usually does not produce fruits (nuts). Round, double-toothed, light green leaves (2-3" long) typically turn an undistinguished yellow in fall. After leaf drop, the contorted form of the branches becomes quite noticeable and provides winter interest.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spots, blight and crown gall. Occasional insect pests include scale, leafhoppers and various foliage-eating caterpillars. Removal of root suckers, particularly in large plantings, can become a time-consuming, maintenance problem.

Garden Uses

Specimen or shrub border. Contorted branches have good accent value, especially in winter.