Contorted Plants

Changes in a plant’s cytoplasm (a thick solution that fills each cell and is enclosed by the cell membrane – mainly composed of water, salts, and proteins) may result in curled leaves, twisted stems or prostrate or climbing growth habit.

Latin Name Location Flowering season Description

Corylus avellana 'Contorta'

Corkscrew hazel

Habit variant

Late winter to early spring

A large deciduous shrub with highly contorted and twisted branches bearing broadly ovate leaves and yellow male catkins.

Crataegus monogyna

Contorted hawthorn

Habit variant

Late spring

A small, usually upright tree of 3-4m in height. White flowers are followed by bright red berries in the autumn. The contorted branches provide interest in the winter months.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Cristata'

Crested Japanese cedar

Habit variant


An ornamental conifer that can grow to 7.6m in height. It has a slender, pyramidal shape. The needles curving inward toward the twig they are borne upon. The foliage is normally green but can brown during the winter.

Ligustrum japonicum


Japanese privet

Habit variant

Late summer

A very slow growing evergreen that reaches approximately 1m in height. It has dark green round leathery leaves, dense foliage and clusters of creamy white flowers.

Prunus laurocerasus


Twisted laurel

Habit variant

Late spring

A vigorous, flowering, evergreen shrub with twisted and curled dark green leaves. It reaches up to 4m in height and produces spiky white flowers.

Robinia pseudoacacia


False acacia

Habitat variant



A deciduous tree with furrowed black bark. It can reach 15-24m in height. Its white or pink flowers grow in long pendant clusters and are followed by thin, flat brown pods that stay on the tree throughout the winter.

Salix babylonica var. pekinensis 'Tortuosa'

Corkscrew willow

Habitat variant


A fast-growing, medium-sized deciduous tree of upright habit, with narrow, twisted leaves. Its branches and shoots are highly contorted. It produces small yellow catkins.

Salix caprea 'Kilmarnock'

Kilmarnock willow

Habitat variant

December to March

A bushy upright large shrub or medium-sized tree, up to 15m in height. 'Kilmarnock' is a male form with grey catkins and yellow anthers.

Thuja occidentalis


White cedar

Habitat variant


An upright, rounded to conical, tree with a weeping habit and red-brown bark. It reaches 2.1-2.4m in height. Yellow to yellow-green scale-like foliage appears in flattened sprays.