Is Harry Lauder Walking Stick an invasive plant?

Asked January 27, 2014, 9:49 PM EST

I was given a Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree / plant (Corylus avellana contorta) and was reading various websites about it. One of the websites said it was considered invasive in Oregon and a different website said that I should destroy it because they are illegal in ornamental gardens in Oregon. Is that true? I'm not especially attached to it either way, but I do hate to destroy it because it's healthy and a nice little tree. I see them for sale at local nurseries, so I'm a bit confused. Thank you!

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

You can rest easy. If Harry Lauder Walking Stick trees qualified as either invasive or illegal, local garden centers would not be able to sell them. The websites that suggest these interesting contorted ornamentals aren’t permitted in home gardens are out-of-date and unaware that previous restrictions were lifted recently.

I wonder about the label “invasive” which means a plant can thrive and spread aggressively beyond its native range and can cause economic or environmental harm. (http://www.oregon.gov/oisc/Pages/faqs.aspx#What_is_an_invasive_species) Far too often, the public confuses the phrase “invasive plant” with “garden aggressive plant.” The latter is a plant thug that spreads rapidly within an individual garden. Harry doesn’t fit either definition.