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Valentine.gr  

February 2007

Did you know that contorted hazel (Corylus avellana Contorta) is a natural mutant of comon hazel and was discovered growing in an English hedgerow in the 1860?

Contorted hazel - Corylus avellana Contorta 

Contorted hazel - Corylus avellana Contorta

The genus Corylus consists of about ten hardy, deciduous, large shrubs or small trees from the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. These plants are commonly known as Filberts, Hazels, or Hazelnuts. Many varieties are grown for their edible nuts, while others are grown for ornament. The most important kinds grown for their nuts are the Filberts, which are varieties and hybrids of C. avellana and C. maxima. C. maxima var. Purpurea (Purple-leaves Filbert) is a large shrub with beautiful, rounded, purple leaves. C. avellana (European Filbert) is a large shrub or small, multi-stemmed tree.

Though C. avellana produces small, round nuts known as cobnuts, the filbert (Corylus maxima) bears larger nuts that ripen earlier in the season. Filberts, which are native to the Balkans. They traditionally collected and brought into church on August 22 - Saint Philibert's Day - hence the ancient name of filbert. 

Of the 10 species of hazel spread across the temperate areas of the Northern hemisphere, only one reaches tree-like proportions - the Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna). This tree has a fissured, corky trunk supporting a pyramidal crown and is often planted as a formal feature.

Propagation can be by seed, tip-layering or radical suckers and cutting. Hazels will grow in shade as well as in full sunlight and are lime-tolerant. Grows 15 ft in 20 years. 

The nuts were of course eaten. It is rich in fatty oils and vitamins. Weight for weight they contain 50% more protein, 7x more fat and 5x more carbohydrate than hen's eggs. The oil is multi-usable and has been employed for cooking or dressing salads, as well as in oil paints, as a machine lubricant and in making perfumery and cosmetics.

The wood of the Hazel is not long lasting, but since Hazel rods are extremely pliable (and abundant), they have been used for a great variety of purposes: basket work, wattle and daub frames, hurdles to pen sheep and other fencing panels, thatching spars, coracle frames (Coracles are the Celtic basket like boats), bender poles (a bender is a temporary tent as used by travelers, peace protesters and so on), hoops, fishing rods, walking sticks, broom handles and so on. Forked hazel twigs are traditionally used for water divining. 

C. avellana var. Contorta (Harry Lauder's Walking Stick) is an interesting, picturesque shrub that slowly reaches a height of up to 10 feet. This shrub features twisted and spiraling branches, twigs and leaves. Monoecious (separate male and female flowers on the same plant). Male flowers appear in spring in showy, 2-3" long, yellowish brown catkins. Female flowers are insignificant. Although the species is commonly grown commercially for nut production, this cultivar usually does not produce fruits (nuts). Round, double-toothed, light green leaves (2-3" long) typically turn an undistinguished yellow in fall. After leaf drop, the contorted form of the branches becomes quite noticeable and provides winter interest.

This shrub needs careful attention to pruning for it to develop into an attractive plant, rather than a gnarled mess. It is beneficial to leave a few main stems only so that their twists are clearly defined. This shrub also produces pretty catkins in the winter.  

The name Corylus -Korylos was the Greek name for a Hazelbush, and the name 'Avellana' is thought to refer to Avella Vecchia, a city in Southern Italy, finely situated in fertile territory and its nuts (nuces Abellanae) and fruit were renowned in roman days. The variety name Contorta refer to contorted shape of the plant.

This intricate form of this hazel   in the early 1860s. An eminent Victorian gardener, Canon Ellacombe of Bitton, spotted the tangled stems and propagated the plant to amuse his friend Edward Augustus Bowles.

Bowles loved plant curiosities and aberrations enough to dedicate part of his large garden near Enfield, Middlesex, to his oddities. His original plant - the first contorted hazel in cultivation - still grows in the 'Lunatic Asylum' (as Bowles named it) at Myddelton House today.

Once established in Bowles's garden, other famous gardeners admired its sculptural, bonsai-like charms. In the early years of the 20th century it acquired another name - Harry Lauder's Walking Stick - after the popular Scottish entertainer. Sir Harry Lauder (1870-1950) was a Scot & a leading music hall entertainer who sang lovely ballads & told jokes on himself. He was greatly beloved in his day, & was knighted by King George V for service to the country in the first World War, wherein his only son was killed.

Corkscrew hazel is a natural mutant of wild hazel, carrying a mutation that produces contorted shoots and distorted leaves. The mutation causing the abnormal growth is not transmitted via the seeds, so the plant can only be grown from cuttings, or via grafts onto normal hazel rootstocks.

The contorted hazel makes an excellent container plant and can be combined with spring bulbs and hellebores in a winter-to-spring arrangement, where - with care - it will survive for many years. One of the winter highlights in a garden is the gnarled silhouette of the "corkscrew hazel" - Corylus avellana 'Contorta'. In low sunshine, the pale sky provides the perfect backdrop for its dark and tortuously twisted branches.

Source:
http://www.botany.com/corylus.html
http://www.the-tree.org.uk/BritishTrees/TreeGallery/hazelc.htm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/
main.jhtml?xml=/gardening/2002/01/19/ghow19.xml

 

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Suicide Tree - Cerbera odollam
Konjac - Amorphophallus konjac
Madagascar ocotillo - Alluaudia procera
Water Banana - Typhonodorum lindleyanum
Salak - Salacca zalacca
Natal Plum - Carissa macrocarpa
Ashanti blood - Mussaenda erythrophylla
Duranta - Duranta erecta
Maqui - Aristotelia chilensis
Manuka - New Zealand Tea Tree - Leptospermum scoparium
Suriname cherry - Eugenia uniflora
Australian Finger Lime - Citrus australasica
Sacred Flower of the Incas - Cantua buxifolia
Job's tears - Coix Lacryma-jobi
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Java Apple - Syzygium samarangense
Screwpine - Pandanus utilis
Marimo - Aegagropila linnaei
Achocha/Caigua - Inca cucumber - Cyclanthera pedata
Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis
Sugar cane - Saccharum officinarum
Sacha inchi - Plukenetia volubilis
Coffea - Coffee Tree - Coffea arabica
Liquorice - Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra
Mullein -Verbascum thapsus
Iceplant - Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
Chayote - Sechium edule
Roselle - Hibiscus sabdariffa
Black Goji - Lycium ruthenicum Murray
Rose Cactus - Pereskia grandifolia
Durian - Durio zibethinus
Jackfruit tree - Artocarpus heterophyllus
Cassabanana - Sicana odorifera
Chilean myrtle - Arrayan - Luma apiculata
Kurrajong - Brachychiton populneus
Rice-paper Plant -Tetrapanax papyrifer
Shell Ginger - Alpinia zerumbet
Harlequin Glorybower - Clerodendrum trichotomum
Coco de Mer - Lodoicea maldivica
Silver Tree - Leucadendron argenteum
Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
Himalayan Honeysuckle - Leycesteria formosa
Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
Borojo - Alibertia patinoi - Borojoa patinoi
Butterfly Pea - Clitoria ternatea
Honey Flower - Melianthus major
Ombu - Phytolacca dioica
Lion's Ear - Wild Dagga - Leonotis leonurus
Moringa - Miracle Tree - Moringa oleifera
Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum
Spear Lily - Gymea - Doryanthes
Camphor tree - Cinnamomum camphora
Waterwheel - Aldrovanda vesiculosa
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Four o'clock - Marvel of Peru - Mirabilis jalapa
Dead Manís Fingers - Decaisnea
Bitter Melon - Momordica charantia
Shoapnuts Tree - Shoapberry - Sapindus
Acerola - Malpighia
Monkey Ladder - Sea Heart - Entada gigas
Cherimoya - Annona cherimola
Caper - Capparis spinosa
Lithops - Living Stones
Chaste Tree - Vitex agnus-castus
Chilean Lantern Tree - Crinodendron hookerianum
Parrot's Beak - Lotus berthelotii
Water Hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes
Guaiac Tree - Guaiacum officinale - Lignum-vitae
Mickey Mouse bush - Ochna serrulata
Cow's Udder - Solanum mammosum
Miracle fruit - Synsepalum dulcificum
Akebia - Akebia quinata
Chilean Firebush - Embothrium coccineum
Caesalpinia - Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Welwitschia - Welwitschia mirabilis
Saguaro - Carnegiea gigantea
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis
Monarda - Bee balm - Bergamot
Tamarind - Tamarindus indica
Neomarica - Walking Iris
Red hot poker - Kniphofia - Tritoma
Sikkim rhubarb - Rheum nobile
Reseda - Mignonette
Paulownia - Paulownia tomentosa
Belamcanda chinensis - Leopard lily
Blue Poppy - Meconopsis
Cannonball Tree - Couroupita guianensis
Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea
Goji - Wolfberry - Lycium barbarum
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Stevia - Stevia rebaudiana
Pachypodium
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Clematis
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Jade vine - Strongylodon macrobotrys
Sansevieria - Snake Plant
Trochetia
Yareta - Azorella compacta
African tulip tree - Spathodea campanulata
Angel's Trumpets - Brugmansia
Achiote - Annato - Bixa orellana
Sausage Tree - Kigelia pinnata
Castor Oil Plant - Ricinus communis
Firewheel Tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus
Bat Flower - Tacca
Snake gourd - Trichosanthes cucumerina
Sedum
Hydnora - Hydnora africana
Pickerel Weed - Pontederia
Argan - Argania spinosa
Astilbe - False Goats Beard
Feijoa - Pineapple Guava - Acca sellowiana
Aquilegia - Columbine
Cassiope
Sweet Box - Sarcococca
Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera
Foxtail Lily - Eremurus
Rue - Ruta graveolens
Pittosporum
Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata
Rose of Jericho - Anastatica hierochuntica
Gunnera
Waterlily - Nymphaea
Calico Flower - Aristolochia
Daylily - Hemerocallis
Contorted hazel - Corylus avellana Contorta
Torch Ginger - Etlingera elatior
Mistletoe - Viscum album
Devil´s claw - Harpagophytum procumbens
Teasel - Dipsacus
Pampas grass - Gynerium argenteum - Cortaderia Selloanna
Purple coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
Coral Tree - Erythrina crista-galli
Portulaca
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Field Poppy - Papaver Rhoeas
Narcissus - Daffodil
Mimosa pudica - Sensitive Plant
Boxwood - Buxus sempervirens
Firethorn - Pyracantha
Star of Bethlehem - Ornithogalum
Cosmos
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Papyrus - Cyperus papyrus
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Passiflora - Passion Flower
Calendula - Marigold
Lupine - Lupinus
Canna - Indian Shot
Witch Hazel - Hamamelis
Oak - Quercus
Brunsvigia - Candelabra Flower
Tree peony - Paeonia suffruticosa
Olive - Olea europaea
Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus
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Chaenomeles - Flowering Quince
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Clivia - Clivia Miniata
Dipladenia - Dipladenia sanderii
Date palm - Phoenix dactylifera
Peach - Prunus persica
Almond - Prunus amygdalus
Willow - Salix
Pomegranate - Punica granatum
Protea cynaroides
Colchicum autumnale
Bird of Paradise - Strelitzia reginae
Cardon - Pachycereus pringlei
Wolffia arrhiza
Puya raimondii
Fuchsia
Asphodelus - Asphodel
Primula - Primerose
Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Heart
Edelweiss - Leontopodium alpinum
Helleborus Niger - Christmas Rose
Zantedeschia - Calla Lily
Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperial
Aster
Heliconia
Common Sunflower - Helianthus annuus
Bee Orchid - Orphys apifera
Convalaria majalis - Lily of the Valley - Muguet
Syringa Vurgaris - Lilac
Viola
Impantiens
Snowdrop - Galanthus
Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
Dionaea muscipula
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Sea anemone
Amorrhophallus titanum
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