Corylus avellana L. 'Contorta'

Does your life seem far from the straight and narrow?

Take a look at these stems!

This unusual European hazelnut was found around 1850 growing in a hedgerow in England. It has been propagated by cuttings and grafting ever since. The plant has become commonly known as "Harry Lauder's Walking Stick" or "Contorted Hazelnut." The stems and leaves naturally twist and turn as they grow. The plant would normally grow as a sprawling bush, but if it is grafted onto a 4 ft. tall upright stock (Corylus colurna L. is a good non-suckering rootstock) it forms a very ornamental specimen tree.

This tree has recently caused some controversy in the Oregon nursery industry. Sales of this ornamental have been suspended because infected trees have been implicated in the dissemination of Eastern Filbert Blight caused by the fungus Anisogramma anomala. Ornamental nurseries were unaware that a few of the trees they were selling carried a disease which threatens the Oregon Hazelnut Industry!

Kim E. Hummer and Joseph D. Postman, 1 February 1996