The more color the better – Red Majestic Corylus

The more color the better.

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, or the Contorted Filbert or Hazelnut, (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') has never been hard to find in better garden centers, but is it by no means a common landscape shrub. Prized for its corkscrew-like stems it’s at its best in the winter and in early spring before the leaves emerge to hide its interesting stems. During the rest of the year it is a plant that simply fades into the background, unnoticed until the next winter.

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick had had an extreme makeover with the introduction of Corylus ‘Red Majestic’ (patent #16,048). This gem is great addition to the garden pallet because it has red-burgundy foliage in addition to its interesting curly stems. ‘Red Majestic’ is at its best in the spring as the new, bright red foliage emerges and begins to grow. As summer approaches and as the temperatures rise, the foliage turns to a dark burgundy and then by mid-summer the mature foliage turns to a dark green. Even when the older leaves turn green, all is not lost; the new growth continues to push out red foliage to contrast with the old.

The more color the better, that’s what I say. If a plant is to get from the nursery into the garden it has to have more color, more seasons and more ornamental interest than four to six weeks of duration. I don’t know about you but I no longer have room for shrubs that offer just one season of interest. That being said, I have made room in my garden for ‘Red Majestic.’

Red Majestic was developed in Germany by Rolf de Vries. Garden centers can purchase the plants from these officially licensed wholesale growers: Bountiful Farms Nursery, Broken Arrow Nursery, Canadale Nursery, Ekstrom Nursery, Handy Nursery Company, Hollandia Gardens, Means Nursery, Monrovia Growers, Pierce & Son Nursery, Willoway Nurseries.

Retail purchases can be made at on line Wayside Gardens.


  1. Anonymous4:50 PM

    We have carried this selection for about 2 years, and although I like the foliage, I find that the branches are not nearly as contorted as the green leafed variety.

  2. I agree with les. It's not as contorted as the green leafed variety.

  3. Anonymous7:07 AM

    Mine lost ir's red color very early, and new leaves are not growing in red- I was disappointed.

  4. Anonymous1:02 PM

    My Corylus is a disappointment.The branches are just straight... no contortion... boring!

  5. Anonymous4:19 AM

    Mine is a disappointment too. Straight branches, red leaves one side, light green the other side. I thought mine had some pest or disease because of the complete contrast both sides but after reading above comments I realise this is just the way it is growing. It was lovely when I first bought it as well ..

  6. Anonymous9:06 PM

    Just bought and planted today, May 23, 2010. The branches are bent and the leaves are burgany. Hope it keeps growing. We just love the way it looks.

  7. Anonymous4:15 PM

    We just moved into a house with three of these shrubs, they look interesting but the growth is from the bottom. The top part looks dead, do I need to cut this back or not. I think they were planted in 2009

  8. Anonymous10:47 AM

    Just put one of these in over the weekend. Mine is squat and fairly well contorted with the burgandy and deep green colored leaves right now. Can anyone tell me if trimming the top will help foster more contorted growing at the base?

  9. Anonymous6:29 PM

    Old news but oregon state released a far superior variety called red dragon in 2009. Very contorted, red leaves, red catkins. Very beautiful.

  10. Anonymous2:52 PM

    My understanding is these plants are grafted onto a root stock. The rootstock will be from a different cultivar often non of the non contorted variety, so straight shoots from the root stock will need to cut off otherwise they will starty to dominate.

  11. They are often grafted and the root stock can send up sucker shoots which need to be pruned out, however, some growers are stooling the plants - which is kind of like layering cuttings so these plant are on their own roots and do not sucker.

  12. Anonymous5:00 PM

    has anyone experienced "straight green leaves" growing from the base of the red majestic? Leaves and stalk are identical aside from color and the new stalks are straight, not contored.

    I live in southern NJ and love this plant but am unsure whether or not to cut back these new growths...they appear quite hardy, but I don't want it to withold nutrients to the red, contored plant.
    thank you.

  13. Remove the green leaved shoots as they are coming from the rootstock.

  14. Anonymous8:54 PM

    Where I get this plant?

  15. Anonymous5:11 AM

    cut the straight new suckers, this is a reversion growth, I work in the tree, and shrub dept. at a nursery in Chicago, red majestic is very hardy in this part of the country also.


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