Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick

Posted By on 25th August 2014

“I had a little nut tree,
Nothing would it bear
But a silver nutmeg,
And a golden pear.”

Well guess what? We have one too, though sadly there’s no sign of the silver nutmeg or the golden pear, but there do seem to be plenty of nuts.

I believe it’s a Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ or ‘twisted hazel’, sometimes called ‘corkscrew hazel’ or ‘Harry Lauder’s walking stick’.

It’s a strange tree and seems to have 4 distinct phases which I will try to describe. I should point out these photos aren’t mine, as we haven’t lived here long enough to see all it’s 4 cycles and anyway, I’m not that well organised.

In winter it looses all it’s leaves revealing the twisted branches from which it gets it’s name.


In early Spring catkins appear on the bare branches.


Then the catkins go and the leaves appear.


Finally in late August the hazelnuts, which are also known as cobnuts or filberts, begin to form.

Hazel nuts

It might not be the prettiest tree in the garden, but it’s certainly one of the most interesting.

NB. Sir Henry “Harry” Lauder (1870 – 1950) was a Scottish music hall comedian and singer. He was perhaps best known for his long-standing hit “I Love a Lassie”, and was often depicted leaning on a crooked walking stick.

One Response to “Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick”

  1. […] Bottom’ we have a selection of trees. I’ve already introduced you to the holly, and the little nut tree, and I expect you’ve noticed the tall ‘Xmas tree’ in various […]

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