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Harry Lauder's Walking Stick

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Harry Lauder's Walking Stick

Picture of Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana 'Contorta').

Courtesy: Missouri Botanical Garden

Plant Taxonomy of Harry Lauder's Walking Stick:

Plant taxonomy classifies Harry Lauder's walking stick as Corylus avellana. The cultivar is 'Contorta.'

Plant Type for Harry Lauder's Walking Stick:

Technically, Harry Lauder's walking stick may be classified as a deciduous flowering shrub, produced by grafting. But because the rootstock in the graft provides a 4'-high trunk, Harry Lauder's walking stick is commonly referred to as a dwarf tree.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones for Harry Lauder's Walking Stick :

The climate is most favorable for growing Harry Lauder's walking stick in USDA plant hardiness zones 4-8.

Characteristics of Harry Lauder's Walking Stick :

This shrub reaches a height of 8'-10', with a similar spread. The flowers of Harry Lauder's walking stick are yellowish-brown "catkins," as on pussy willows. The blooms appear in early to middle spring. However, this shrub is not grown primarily for its blooms but for its unusual branching pattern, which is indicated by its other common names: corkscrew filbert and contorted hazelnut. For as you can see from the picture, its branches contort themselves in every which way, resembing corkscrews.

Sun and Soil Requirements for Harry Lauder's Walking Stick :

Grow Harry Lauder's walking stick in well-drained soil, in full sun to part shade.

Care of Harry Lauder's Walking Stick:

Being a grafted shrub, Harry Lauder's walking stick does require some special care. The rootstock is Corylus colurna. As often happens with grafted plants, there is a tendency for suckers to shoot up from the rootstock. You must prune off these suckers so that the plant does not revert to the characteristics of its rootstock.

How Harry Lauder's Walking Stick Got Its Name:

According to Adele Kleine of "Flower and Garden Magazine," the shrub's "appealing common name derives from the old Scottish comedian Harry Lauder who performed using a crooked branch as a cane."

Uses for Harry Lauder's Walking Stick in Landscape Design:

Harry Lauder's walking stick is a specimen plant. The corkscrew shape of its branches lends much-needed visual interest to the winter landscape.

More on Harry Lauder's Walking Stick:

Harry Lauder's walking stick is a case in which one may rightly claim that a deciduous shrub truly comes into its own only after its leaves have fallen. Not that the shrub isn't attractive when fully leafed out. But the eye is especially drawn to this curious specimen in winter, when many other deciduous trees and shrubs are little better than sad reminders of a defunct fall and summer.



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