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Corylus avellana 'Contorta' Contorted European Filbert, Henry Lauder's Walking Stick

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen

Introduction

A curious shrub with twisted stems and branches, walking stick slowly develops into a nice, rounded form. Branches grow upright when the plant is young, but eventually droop toward the ground. Flowers emerge and hang from bare stems before the foliage appears in the spring. Fruit is persistent and enjoyed by birds, rodents, and humans.

Full Form - Corylus avellana 'Contorta': Contorted European Filbert, Henry Lauder's Walking Stick
Figure 1. Full Form - Corylus avellana 'Contorta': Contorted European Filbert, Henry Lauder's Walking Stick
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

 

Flower - Corylus avellana 'Contorta': Contorted European Filbert, Henry Lauder's Walking Stick
Figure 2. Flower - Corylus avellana 'Contorta': Contorted European Filbert, Henry Lauder's Walking Stick
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

 

Twig, Contorted - Corylus avellana 'Contorta': Contorted European Filbert, Henry Lauder's Walking Stick
Figure 3. Twig, Contorted - Corylus avellana 'Contorta': Contorted European Filbert, Henry Lauder's Walking Stick
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

 

Leaf - Corylus avellana 'Contorta': Contorted European Filbert, Henry Lauder's Walking Stick
Figure 4. Leaf - Corylus avellana 'Contorta': Contorted European Filbert, Henry Lauder's Walking Stick
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Corylus avellana 'Contorta'

Pronunciation: KOR-rill-us av-vell-LAY-nuh

Common name(s): Contorted European filbert, Henry Lauder's walking stick

Family: Betulaceae

Plant type: shrub

USDA hardiness zones: 4B through 8 (Figure 5)

Planting month for zone 7: year round

Planting month for zone 8: year round

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Uses: border; container or above-ground planter; accent; cut foliage/twigs

Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 5. Shaded area represents potential planting range. 

Description

Height: 5 to 10 feet

Spread: 8 to 12 feet

Plant habit: round

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: slow

Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: serrate

Leaf shape: orbiculate

Leaf venation: pinnate

Leaf type and persistence: deciduous

Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: yellow

Fall characteristic: showy

Flower

Flower color: brown

Flower characteristic: spring flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: elongated

Fruit length: 1/2 to 1 inch

Fruit cover: dry or hard

Fruit color: brown

Fruit characteristic: suited for human consumption

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: showy; typically multi-trunked or clumping stems

Current year stem/twig color: brown

Current year stem/twig thickness: medium

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay

Drought tolerance: high

Soil salt tolerances: poor

Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches

Other

Roots: sprouts from roots or lower trunk

Winter interest: plant has winter interest due to unusual form, nice persistent fruits, showy winter trunk, or winter flowers

Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more

Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Most people plant walking stick in a prominent location in the landscape so its unusual habit can be displayed. Place it in a mulched bed or in a mass of low ground cover so adjacent plants will not interfere with it. It can be used as the accent in any garden and is often placed near water, near a deck or patio so passers-by can enjoy it up close.

Pests and Diseases

A foliage and twig blight has been reported.

Publication #FPS147

Release Date:October 12th, 2023

Related Collections

Part of Shrubs Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is FPS147, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Department of Environmental Horticulture; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Contacts

  • Gail Hansen de Chapman