Cool Plant: January 21, 2010

Harry Lauder's Walking Stick
Corylus avellana 'Contorta'

Species Native Range: Europe
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-8
Mature Size: 8-10 feet tall & wide
Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Soil: Average but well-drained
Drought Tolerance: Excellent
Ease of Culture: Easy

Harry Lauder's Walking Stick was a chance occurrence found growing in a hedgerow of European Hazelnuts in the 1800's. The twisted appearance of the trunk, limbs and leaves makes it a curiosity from spring through fall. However, it's in the winter when HLWS really stands out in the garden. Once the leaves have dropped, the contorted appearance is really quite attractive. By late winter the shrub is covered with greenish-yellow catkins (flowers) which hang down like icecicles before the leaves emerge.

Plant HLWS in full sun to partial shade. Flowering will be better in full sun. The soil should be loose and well-drained. Most of these plants are sold grafted onto regular hazelnut rootstock which has a tendency to produce straight shoots that head skyward. These should be pruned off regularly. Recently, HLWS has been offered growing on its own roots and I recommend purchasing these plants. The plant has few pests although its leaves are often eaten by Japanese beetles.

HLWS is a specimen plant and should be used as a focal point in the garden. They also adapt well to growing in containers and they make excellent bonsai specimens. The plant is named in honor of Sir Harry Lauder, the Scottish performer known for using a crooked walking stick.


Although I have seen or purchased this plant from the nurseries below, I cannot guarantee that they will have it in stock at the time this newsletter is published.

Buck Jones Nurseries: Grayson and Woodstock
Habersham Gardens: Atlanta
Hastings Nursery: Atlanta (404) 869-7447

Unless noted otherwise, Images & Drawings Copyrighted © 2010 by Theresa Schrum - All rights reserved