Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

CORYLUS avellana 'Contorta'

Image of Corylus avellana 'Contorta'

Jessie Keith



Botanical Name

CORYLUS avellana 'Contorta'

Plant Common Name

Common Filbert, Contorted Filbert

General Description

Commonly known as Harry Lauder's walking stick, contorted filbert has interesting twisted branches that are especially striking in winter. Attractive long yellow catkins are borne in late winter before the rounded, toothed leaves emerge.

Prized for its delicious hard-shelled nuts, European filbert is a small tree to large shrub that originates from the whole of Europe as well as western Asia. Wild plants exist in open woods and hedgerows where they grow in a wide range of soil types. Hazelnuts have been in cultivation for thousands of years and many cultivars exist--most bred to produce high quality nut crops. The woody, oblong nuts ripen in mid to late autumn and are eaten by wildlife as well as people. The European filbert is the chief species grown commercially for hazelnuts, and the nuts are prized for fresh eating, baking and candy-making.

A hardy, deciduous tree, European hazelnut produces rounded or heart-shaped leaves with double serrated edges. The leaves are deep green and turn shades of yellow, green and brown in fall. Trees are monoecious, which means single plants either have all male or all female flowers. The conspicuous male flowers are drooping yellow catkins that bloom in late winter or early spring, before the leaves emerge. Female trees bear tiny yellow flowers around the same time as the male flowers, and generate hazelnut fruits over the course of the season. The nuts are wrapped in green, leafy sheaths that turn brown as the nuts ripen. Hazelnuts are usually ready to harvest in mid- to late-fall. Wild specimens often sucker and form dense thickets.

For best performance plant where there's plenty of sun and soil is fertile with average to good drainage. Prune suckers off as needed, and thin shrubs regularly to keep them manageable. Grafted plants may produce straight-branched suckers that should be removed as they appear. This shrub is best planted as a specimen plant. The bare branches look beautiful in flower arrangements.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Width

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Europe, Northern Africa, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color


  • Fruit Color

    Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)


  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture


  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing