How to identify a willow tree

12 Common Species of Willow Trees and Shrubs


Vanessa Richins Myers

Vanessa Richins Myers

Vanessa Richins Myers is a seasoned horticulturist, writer, and educator with over 10 years of training and experience as a professional horticulturist and gardener. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture, with an emphasis in landscape design and urban horticulture. She volunteers as a community garden specialist.

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Updated on 06/23/22

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Willows include more than 400 trees and shrubs from the Salix genus—a group of moisture-loving plants that are native to temperate and cold regions in the Northern Hemisphere. Depending on the species, willows range in size from low-ground-hugging shrubs to towering giants of 90 feet or more. All willows are moisture-loving plants that can live in wet areas and boggy conditions, and some are adaptable enough to also do well in dry soils. Most species of Salix have lance-shaped leaves, although some species have narrower leaves (these species are known as osiers), while others have rounder leaves (most of these species are known as sallows). The wood of willow trees tends to be brittle, so ornamental landscape use is limited to a relatively few species. 

In landscapes, willows are often planted alongside streams where the interlacing roots will hold back soil and prevent erosion. Willows can also be used to create living fences or even sculptures, and the branches are commonly used in basketry and weaving since the wood is flexible enough to be bent once it has been soaked in water. 


Be cautious about planting willows near sewer lines or water pipes, because their roots will naturally gravitate to them. Most, if not all, willow species are moisture-loving plants that will seek out underground pipes carrying water. If willow roots penetrate a water main or sewer line, you could face thousands of dollars in repair and replacement cost.

Here are 12 water-loving willow trees and shrubs to consider.

  • 01 of 12

    Bebb Willow (Salix bebbiana)

    Matt Lavin/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    This is a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree that naturally grows in thickets alongside streams, lakes, and bogs. It is a dominant natural species in wetlands across the northern tier of North America but is rarely found south of zone 4. The wood of the Bebb willow is often used in carving. Outside of its use in woodworking and for securing river banks, Bebb willow has few landscape uses, since it is short-lived and prone to insect and disease damage. Once established, this species is relatively drought-tolerant.

    Regionally, you may hear Bebb willow called by other common names, including beaked willow, gray will, diamond willow, or long-beaked willow. This species is known to readily hybridize with other willow species, so precise identification is sometimes difficult.

    • Native Area: Northern half of North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7
    • Height: 10 to 30 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to shade
  • 02 of 12

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    This variety is favored due to its twisting branches that can add winter interest. It is a true tree rather than a multi-stemmed shrubby plant. The corkscrew willow is also used as an accent in floral arrangements and as bonsai. Regionally, this plant goes by several other common names, including curly willow, globe willow, Pekin willow, and twisted willow. The species form, S. matsudana, is closely related to the weeping willow, and some botanists consider it to be a naturally occurring variation of that tree. S. matsudana 'Tortuosa' is one of the most popular cultivars, featuring twisted branches; others include 'Golden Curls' and 'Scarlet Curls'.

    • Native Area: Northeastern China
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Height: 20 to 50 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 03 of 12

    Narrowleaf Willow (Salix exigua)

    Andrey Zharkikh/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    Also known as coyote willow, this is a shrubby form of willow, often used to make flexible poles or building materials. Rustic furniture is often made from the branches of this plant, which have an attractive gray, furrowed bark. Although this plant has a very broad natural range across most of North America, it is considered endangered or threatened in some parts of the eastern U.S. 

    This plant may have other common names in different regions, including dusky willow, and gray willow. In addition to its use as a source of building materials, it is sometimes planted and pruned as a small ornamental tree. It has a remarkable tolerance for different conditions, thriving both in drought conditions and extended flooding.

    • Native Area: all of North America, Alaska to Louisiana
    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 9
    • Height: 6 to 15 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 04 of 12

    Dappled Willow (Salix integra 'Hakuro-nishiki')

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    This willow shrub works well as a specimen plant since the leaves are variegated, featuring shades of pink, green, and white. The pink comes when the leaves first appear and fade to just green and white as the season progresses. As a bonus, the branches turn an attractive red in the winter. Growing from multiple stems, it works well in shrub borders or rain gardens.

    Other common names for this plant include variegated willow, Nishiki willow, Japanese dappled willow, Japanese variegated willow, and tricolor willow. This willow may also be sold under the variety name of 'Albomaculata'. Another willow with similar markings is Salix integra 'Flamingo'.

    • Native Area: Russia, Japan, Korea, northeastern China
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Height: 4 to 6 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 05 of 12

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Goat willow is one of several willow species that is also sometimes known as pussy willow. Goat willow is a large shrub or small tree that is often grown for the attractive puffy catkins. Kept closely pruned, it is sometimes used for hedges and screens, or as a filler plant in boggy areas. Goat willow is one of only a few willow species that does not propagate easily from cuttings, so both a male and female plant will be needed for proper pollination and production of seeds.

    In addition to pussy willow, this plant may be known regionally by other common names, including great sallow, European pussy willow, and French pussy willow.

    • Native Area: Western and Central Asia, Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
    • Height: 12 to 30 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 06 of 12

    Peach-Leaf Willow (Salix amygdaloides)

    Andrey Zharkikh/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    Like its common name, the leaves on this willow resemble peach tree leaves. Like the goat willow, propagation is done by seeds, since cuttings root with difficulty, if at all. It is a fairly large tree that grows quickly but does not live to old age. It can be used to quickly fill bare areas and to control erosion. In natural settings, it can often be found growing alongside cottonwood trees. 

    Other common names for this plant include almond willow and Wright willow.

    • Native Area: North America, U.S. through southern Canada
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 5
    • Height: 30 to 50 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 07 of 12

    Purple Osier Willow (Salix purpurea)


    Martin Siepmann / Getty Images

    The purple osier willow is a shrub that has purple stems and blue-green leaves when the plants are juveniles. It can handle some shade and dry soil. It is normally planted in order to control erosion along streams and lakes. It can also be planted as a hedge. The attractive flowers and stems can be used in crafts. This willow has been used for the treatment of pain, due to the presence of salicin in its bark. Purple osier willow may require cutting back to the ground every three to five years in order to keep the plant vigorous and maintain the proper ornamental shape.

    Other common names for this plant include basket willow, Alaska blue willow, purple willow, and blue Arctic willow.

    • Native Area: Western Asia, North Africa, and Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Height: 8 to 15 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 08 of 12

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Along with the goat willow, this is the American willow species that falls under the common name pussy willow. The pussy willow is commonly grown for use by the floral design industry. In landscapes, it sometimes appears in hedges and in rain gardens. Unlike goat willow, which has thicket-like multiple stems growing from the ground, S. discolor can be shaped into a small tree or a shrub with a central stem.

    Other common names for this plant include American pussy willow, glaucous willow, large pussy willow, and American willow.

    • Native Area: North America, Canada to central U.S.
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Height: 2 to 25 feet tall, depending on the variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 09 of 12

    Willow (Salix scouleriana) (Scouler #39)

    Matt Lavin / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Scouler's willow is a multiple-stemmed tree that tolerates drier conditions than many willows. This is another diamond willow popular for carving and was discovered by Scottish naturalist John Scouler. It is sometimes planted as a hedge or to control erosion along a body of water, though caution is advised since this plant can be invasive—it can quickly take over a landscape, especially after fire or logging. Scouler's willow is an important source of browsing vegetation for deer, elk, and other wildlife. It is an unusual willow in its willingness to grow in close proximity to other trees, often appearing in mixed forests.

    Other common names for this willow include fire willow, black willow, and western pussy willow.

    • Native Area: Western North America, Alaska to northern mountain states of the U.S.
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Height: 20 to 50 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 10 of 12

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    The weeping willow is perhaps the most well-known of all landscape trees with a weeping habit. It works well to grace the edges of a pond or lake, but it can also be used as a landscape specimen tree in larger yards. The branches will sway delightfully in the breeze, though stronger winds might break off some of the stems and litter the ground. Plan on replacing it in about 30 years, as weeping willows are not long-lived. While growing to full size, though, it may add as much as 10 feet each year.

    • Native Area: Northern China
    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 9
    • Height: 35 to 50 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 11 of 12

    White Willow (Salix alba)

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    The white willow may sometimes be infected by fungi that produce the diamond willow characteristic. Its name comes from the fact that the leaves are white underneath. It is not a good tree in most landscape situations because of its weak wood and enormous size but is sometimes used to fill in low wet spots. One popular variety, Salix alba 'Tristis' is sold as a golden weeping willow.  The stems are often used in basket weaving. This is an extremely large and fast-growing tree, so make sure to plant it in a spot with plenty of space.

    • Native Area: Western and central Asia, Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Height: 50 to 100 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 12 of 12

    Yellow Willow (Salix lutea)

    Matt Lavin/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Yellow willow is a shrubby form that may approach the size of an upright tree. It is a favorite food of moose, elk, sheep, and beavers. It occurs naturally across much of western and central North America, and it is sometimes planted to repair areas that have had floods, erosion, or other problems. It reproduces easily both through cuttings and seeds.

    • Native Area: North America, from central Canada to western and central U.S.
    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 9
    • Height: Can be over 20 feet tall
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun

Septic Safe vs. Unsafe Plants Near a Drain Field

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Plants Profile for Salix exigua (narrowleaf willow). United States Department of Agriculture, Legal Status

  2. Salix purpurea 'Nana'. Missouri Botanical Garden

  3. Birch Top, Cedar and Willow - Careful Harvest Fact Sheet. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Willows - Tree Guide UK

Willow trees identification

Four Willow species are shown here – White, Grey, Weeping and Goat Willow. For information on the Crack Willow click HERE. Willows and Poplars are closely related but are easy to differentiate. Willow leaves are generally long and thin (apart from the Goat Willow) and have shorter and fatter catkins. Poplar leaves are triangular or diamond-shaped and  catkins are long. For more information on Poplars click HERE.

Willows are pollinated by insects (Poplars are wind pollinated). Willows have male flowers on one tree and female flowers on another tree. Technically they are called ‘dioecious’ from the Greek meaning ‘2 households’. The flowers are in the form of catkins. Female and male catkins look different. Willow species easily form hybrids with other Willows. Some hybrids are natural and you may come across trees that have features of both parents. This makes identification very difficult even for experts.

Willow trees identification – White, Grey, Weeping and Goat Willow – tree shape, leaf shape, male and female catkins and buds. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

The White Willow (Salix alba) is native to Europe (including Britain), Asia and north Africa. It is common along rivers and lowland valleys. It is a large, impressive tree. The leaves are narrow but shorter than those of the Crack Willow and have silvery-white hairs. The tree looks strikingly white in summer.

The Grey Willow (Salix cinerea), also known as the Grey Sallow, is native to western Europe including Britain. It grows naturally everywhere. It is a shrub and rarely a tree. It can be confused with the Goat Willow but it has longer leaves and large ‘stipules’ at the base of each leaf.

The Weeping Willow (Salix alba ‘Tristis’), also called the Golden Weeping Willow, is a hybrid cultivated variety of the White Willow and 2 other willows, called, for simplicity, ‘Tristis’ which means ‘sad’. It sometimes has the name ‘Chrysocoma’ which means ‘golden-haired’. It is a male clone. It is common along rivers and in parks and gardens. It is one of the first willows to come into leaf, in March.

The Goat Willow (Salix caprea) is a shrub or small tree also known as Pussy Willow and Great Sallow. It is native to Europe (including Britain) and Asia. In Britain it is found everywhere in woodlands, scrub and hedgerows. The leaf is different from many other willows being oval shaped and with a tip that is bent sideways.The male catkins are yellow when full of pollen in March and April. The female catkins are green in April and shed fluffy seeds in May. The bark has criss-crossed ridges

The White Willow leaf is not as long as the Crack Willow. It has long white hairs on the upper surface. The leaves hang down and have a silvery-white appearance.

Grey Willow leaves are alternate and the shoots have stipules. These are tiny leaves at the base of full size leaves which identify the Grey Willow from other common willows.

The leaf is long and thin. The Weeping Willow is the first willow to come into leaf in Spring.

The Goat Willow leaf is oval-shaped and twisted at the end.

Close-up of the White Willow male catkin in April, showing the yellow ‘anthers’ before releasing pollen

Grey Willow male catkin in March showing the yellow pollen.

Weeping Willow male catkin March.

Goat Willow male catkins at the end of March. They come out before the leaves.

White Willow shoots and buds are covered in white hairs

Grey Willow shoots and buds are slightly hairy. The buds are small, red and pressed flat to the shoot.

Weeping Willow buds are small and closely pressed to the shoots.

Goat Willow buds are yellow/brown and fat and stick out from the shoot.

Varieties of willow with photos and full descriptions


  • General data
  • Variety of species

Willow is a deciduous tree of the Willow family. There are more than 550 species on the planet, they mainly grow in areas with a temperate and cool climate in the Northern Hemisphere. Some varieties are found beyond the Arctic Circle and in the tropics. Scientists note that willows are old-timers on the planet, their leaves are imprinted in Cretaceous deposits, whose age is estimated at tens of millions of years.

General data

In Russia, the plant has several names - willow, willow, willow, willow, tal, vine, lozina, shelyuga.

Most often, willow is a tree about 15 meters high, or a low shrub. But individual species of willow are represented by specimens over 30 meters high with a trunk diameter of 50 cm. In the North, willow is no longer a tree, but a low-growing, creeping shrub that does not grow above 20-30 cm. A grassy willow grows there, only a height of 2-3 centimeters.


Willow grows well along the banks of rivers and lakes, however, there are species growing on the slopes of mountains and in semi-deserts.

Willows of various species have very well developed roots, so they are planted to strengthen loose sandy soil. Willow is also bred to secure the shores of natural and artificial reservoirs - dams, canals, rivers, lakes, ponds. Weeping willow is a good decoration for a park or garden plot, especially if there is an artificial reservoir nearby - a pond or a pool, so landscape designers are willing to work with it.

Variety of species

This article will focus on decorative varieties that are used in landscape design.

White willow is a fairly large tree with spectacular hanging thin branches, with long silvery leaves. White willow grows rapidly, is not demanding on the soil, can grow on waterlogged soil. This tree loves light and warmth, and at the same time tolerates harsh Russian winters well. The lush crown is easy to cut. The tree can be used for a single planting in the park.

Willow has a tent-shaped crown, dark green leaves with a silvery tinge, which turn yellow-green in autumn. It blooms in April-May with fluffy yellow-green flowers - seals. At five years old, it grows up to 3 meters, reaches a maximum after 15-20 years, and it is 25 meters. at the same time, its crown diameter increases to 20 meters.

White willow.

Kilmarnock Goat Willow is a low ornamental tree with hanging branches, the height depends on the grafting site. Goat willow is unpretentious to growing conditions, loves light, but can grow in shady places, suitable for planting near a pond. Grows well in moist soil, hardy.

The shape of the crown of this variety willow is weeping, the leaves are dull green with a silvery tinge, turning yellow in autumn. It blooms in April-May with fluffy golden flowers. Willow kilmarnock does not grow above one and a half meters, and its crown diameter rarely exceeds 1.5 meters.

Iva Kilmarnock.

Pendula goat willow is a low ornamental tree that will look great in group plantings on the shore of a pond. Its height also depends on the height of the graft. A light-loving and frost-resistant plant, it develops well on any type of soil with different humidity.

The crown of this willow variety is weeping, the leaves are dull green, silvery, turning yellow in autumn. Blooms in spring with golden seals. Willow pendula is never higher than 170 cm, and its crown diameter does not exceed 1.5 meters.

Goat willow Pendula.

Brittle willow, a small tree or shrub. Grows quickly in moist soil and in flooded areas. Light-requiring, but can grow in partial shade.

The shape of the crown of this willow variety is soft, round, reminiscent of clouds. Green leaves turn bright yellow in autumn. It blooms in April-May with oblong green-yellow flowers. Brittle willow grows up to 15 meters in height, while its crown diameter reaches 12 meters.

Brittle willow "Globular".

Purple willow is a shrub with thin, reddish-brown branches with a bluish coating. Grows quickly in any type of soil, even sand. Differs in frost resistance and unpretentiousness to illumination. The crown is easy to shape with a haircut. Purple willow can be used as a hedge or as a single planting.

The shape of the crown is spherical, the leaves are silver-green, turning yellow-green in autumn. It blooms in April-May with oblong purple flowers. Willow purple grows up to 5 meters in height, and the diameter of the crown rarely exceeds 5 meters.

Purple willow.

Purple willow Mayak is a winter-hardy, ornamental, openwork shrub with thin reddish-pink branches. Likes bright, sunny places and moderately moist soil. Can be planted in hedges, and in compositions with other shrubs and trees.

Globose crown shape, silver-green leaves in summer and yellow-green in autumn. Yellow-pink flowers appear in spring. The dimensions of the lighthouse willow are 3 meters in height, with a crown diameter of 3 meters.

purple willow Mayak.

Purple willow Nana is a shrub with red-brown branches. Undemanding to soils and illumination, frost-resistant, but in winter it needs protection from the wind. The crown is easy to shape with a haircut. The shrub can be planted in groups or alone, in hedges and for planting near water bodies.

The shape of the crown is lush, semi-circular. The leaves are oblong, narrow, silvery-green in summer and yellow-green in autumn. Blooms in spring with light green flowers. The height of the bush and the diameter of the crown do not exceed one and a half meters.

Purple willow Nana.

Pendula purple willow is a hardy, lush shrub with fine purple tints. Loves moist soil and light, can grow in flooded areas, but at the same time tolerates drought well. Can be used for single landings near water bodies.

The shape of the crown is openwork, weeping, the leaves are green with a bluish tint, turn yellow in autumn. Purple colored flowers. The height depends on the height of the grafting site, but rarely exceeds 3 meters, while the crown diameter is 1.6 meters.

Pendula purple willow.

Willow winding Sverdlovsk - frost-resistant, decorative tree with spiral, hanging branches. It is undemanding to the soil, but grows slowly, it is well formed by a haircut. Willow of this variety can be used for planting in hedges or in a single planting.

Weeping crown shape, green leaves in summer and yellow in autumn, does not bloom. the maximum growth of the winding willow does not exceed 3 meters, and the diameter of the crown is 2 meters.

Winding willow of Sverdlovsk.

Willow Hakuro-nishiki is a sprawling shrub or small tree with an unusual color and hanging shoots. The variety does not differ in frost resistance, it is poorly suited for growing in the Russian climate. It grows well in moist soil, in a well-lit place.

Can be used alone or in combination with dark green plants. A lush bush is easy to form with a haircut.

The shape of the crown is round, the leaves are white-pink-green in spring and summer, turning pink in autumn. It blooms in April-May with yellow-green flowers. The height and diameter of the crown of this variety are within 2 meters.

Whole-leaved willow Hakuro-nishiki.

Swiss willow - spreading, dwarf variety. Slow growing, light-loving shrub. Feels good on fertile, loose, moist soil. The color goes well with coniferous trees.

The shape of the crown is round, the leaves are silvery in spring and summer, turning yellow in autumn. Spring flowers, golden. The height of the bush is 1 meter, with a crown diameter of 1.5 meters.

Swiss willow.

Willow of Babylon - a sprawling tree with thin and long branches hanging down to the ground. Branches of red, yellow or green hues. This variety is frost-resistant and unpretentious to growing conditions. Suitable for single landing on the shore of the reservoir.

The shape of the crown is round, the leaves are long, dark green above, and bluish green below. In autumn they turn yellow. It blooms with white-yellow flowers - earrings. The tree grows up to 10-12 meters, the crown can exceed these values.

Willow of Babylon.

Willow or holly willow is a shrub or tree with thin, flexible branches of red color, which is why the plant is popularly called krastotal or red husk. The branches have a wax coating that is easily erased. It is frost-resistant, unpretentious, can grow near a reservoir on sandy soil.

The crown is oval, the leaves are long, shiny, green with a bluish tinge, turning yellow in autumn. Blooms in April with yellow pollen. Willow grows up to 8-10 meters in height, the crown is spreading - up to 3-4 meters in shrubs and up to 5-6 meters in trees.

Willow or holly willow.

Shaggy willow is an ornamental shrub or small tree with lush branches. Frost-resistant variety, grows well in moist fertile soil. Great for planting in the garden near small artificial ponds.

The shape of the crown is rounded, shaped by shearing. The leaves of the original species are elliptical, silver-green, turning yellow in autumn. Leaves and branches are covered with silky hairs. The flowers are yellow, spring, similar to vertically placed candles. Plant height 1.5-3 meters, crown diameter - 3-4 meters.

Shaggy willow.

Creeping willow Armando is a small shrub with bare, flexible branches. This variety of willow is grown in the form of a trunk. It can be planted not only in the garden, but also indoors or on the balcony in a tub or container. Frost-resistant, loves moist soil and a lot of light. The tree can be used to decorate stone gardens, planted near small artificial reservoirs.

Spreading crown, leaves dull green above and grey-green below, with shiny hairs. Flowering occurs in spring, the inflorescences are fluffy, silvery and pinkish in color.

The bush does not exceed 1 meter in height, the diameter of the crown is 2-3 meters. Sometimes gardeners give the bush a standard shape.

creeping willow Armando.

Rosemary willow is known in Russia as netala, nicellose or Siberian willow. This is a low, spreading shrub with flexible red or purple shoots. It grows slowly, on any soil, tolerates severe frosts and winds well. Suitable for planting among rocky hills.

The shape of the crown is spreading, the leaves are straight with a silky fluff. The color of the leaves is dark green on top and bluish from the inside. Blooms in May with numerous fragrant yellow or purple catkins. The height of the bush is 1 meter, the diameter of the crown is 3-4 meters.

Features and types of willow.

We select willow for the site

Author tobiz Reading 13 min Views 7 Published Updated

In the parks and squares of our country, one can often find a wonderful tree - willow. It is unusually beautiful at any time of the year: a mighty trunk, thin branches smoothly sloping to the ground, oblong-shaped leaves are full of different tones of green, and what can we say about fluffy catkins hanging between the foliage.

Any schoolchild knows the willow tree, recognizes it among others, and many even grow such a beauty on their plot.

There are many names for a tree:

  • willow
  • willow
  • vine
  • willow
  • drawstring

Moreover, folk names differ by region.


  1. Description of willow, use of wood
  2. ,
  3. Iva varieties
  4. Decorative IVE
  5. How to choose an IVA for your site
  6. E planting willow

Description of willow, use of wood

Willow is a very unpretentious tree, it is also the object of charm of townspeople and garden visitors, it inspired great artists to work. The lines of their wonderful poems were dedicated by the great poets Akhmatova and Fet. Anderson even wrote a fairy tale with the same name "Under the Willow".

The phrase "Weeping Willow" is perhaps the most popular, Monet is the author of the painting with that name. In religion, willow also occupies an important place: Christians use its branches instead of palm trees on the feast of Palm Sunday.

For the Jews, the willow symbolizes the holiday of Sukkot. Representatives of folklore talk about willow: the Japanese are sure that rakita can grow only where spirits live, and according to Londoners, willow is a plant of gloating to travelers.

Its wood is actively used in medicine, agriculture, and industrial production.

Willow bark application

Speaking about medicine in more detail, it is worth noting that willow was used long before the formation of medicine as a science. Even the ancient Egyptians and Greeks treated febrile patients with its bark, and the Americans found it used as an anesthetic. Further, scientists worked hard to study the composition and properties of the tree, and made a discovery that we still use today - aspirin was discovered.

Willow was in great demand in production, when they began to make furniture, tackle, and fences from it. Today, baskets, caskets, and furniture are still woven from willow. You can talk a lot about the properties and use of willow vine: it is extremely important for our life.

Varieties of willow

Willow is very different in species: some representatives have a large, powerful stem system with a height of 35 meters, while others may look like a dwarf, for example rosemary willow, creeping bush.

In both cases, the habitat plays a key role. The latitudes of the temperate and subtropical climate of different continents are famous for high species, which cannot be said about the north - there you can only stumble upon dwarf specimens.

Willow tree description

Large crown, also called "weeping" , has many long stems sloping to the very bottom of the earth. Willow branches vary in color from soft green to deep purple, such a representative is the Japanese willow. Only the branches that have appeared have a smooth, soft bark, which cracks as the tree grows older.

The petiole, on which the leaves are located, is short, the leaves twist around the branch in a spiral, have two stipules. The edges of the leaf are uneven - most often they are decorated with small and large cloves. Inflorescences - catkins have flowers of both male and female type. It is noteworthy that some varieties can begin flowering before the first leaves break through, immediately after the snow melts.


At the end of the flowering period, the seed box ripens on the tree, has a thick white edge resembling a tuft. The wind carries the seeds many kilometers away, they can get into the lake or onto the shore of the reservoir, which guarantees the preservation of germination.

Ornamental willow

Willow has more than 550 varieties. It is impossible to know and distinguish them all, but there are a number of the most famous ones that many people know about, because they are most often found on garden alleys and in city squares.

  • White willow tree . A very common variety, a fairly large tree, reaching 25 m up. Willow leaves have a powerful branched aerial part and a large trunk, the bark of which has characteristic cracks. This variety is known in almost every region of Russia; this tree is also found in the gardens of Asian and European countries. Often deciduous white willow trees, in particular, are found along the banks of a river or reservoir. A constant positive temperature promotes rapid growth, it is not whimsical to the soil, it tolerates frost and heat.

Speaking about the silver willow, it should be noted that over the long history of the tree, many varieties of color have appeared:

  • Yellow willow. The species is characterized by golden or brownish branches, large, spherical crown.

  • Shiny. Graceful plant with emerald foliage.

Leaf shape:

  • Weeping yellow willow . Extremely thin branches falling towards the ground.

  • Oval willow. The name comes from the elliptical shape of the leaf.

  • Fine type. Bushy plant with bluish, graceful long leaves.

  • Dwarf. Compact, with a very neat crown.

  • Hanging. Shrub with falling bright scarlet shoots.

Species variants of white willow weight:

  • "Golden Cape" - has merit from the Royal Society of Gardeners. Winter is the time when the tree is especially attractive: the golden bare branches look like rain falling to the ground.

  • Tristis is a classic looking willow with narrow, silvery green leaves on short petioles. Her favorite climate is cold winters and not hot summers, that is, in the northern regions she feels at home.

  • Yelverton-bush which is characterized by bright red or orange shoots.

  • Aurea - yellow-green leaves on a large plant.

  • Hutchinson's Yellow is a tall, up to 5 meters high shrub, which is decorated with graceful red-yellow shoots of the plant.

  • Britzenskaya – typical for it is a reddish-brown shade of shoots.

  • Beijing willow - grows in the cities of China, Korea and in the east of Siberia.

  • One of the species of weeping beauty - purple species . Its shoots have a purple hue, which has become the name of the tree. It is used in basket weaving, for making decor.

  • Goat willow - got its name from the people when people noticed the addiction of horned animals - they eat leaves with pleasure. Its other name is nonsense.

The tree is quite small, the branches are large, the leaves are oval, green. Goat willow is often confused with bird cherry because of the leaves.

Willow is known not only for its useful properties used in medicine: for example, white willow bark, the use of which played an extremely important role in the science of medicine and its formation in general.

The useful properties of wood in industry and crafts are also indispensable. Over time, they learned to cross different species and get new decorative forms of the plant. So they appeared:

  • Kilmanrock is a small shrub with long branches, green leaves and yellow flowers.

  • Weeping Sally is a more compact species than kilmanrock.

  • Silver luster - A silvery coating is a distinguishing feature of this species.

  • Golden leaf - the name comes from the color of the leaves.

  • Whole-leaved willow - compact size and low height up to 3 meters distinguish this species from others. Many florists believe that this tree comes from the purple willow. Petioles on the branches are practically absent, but the leaves stand out with their reddish branches and narrow leaves.

  • Flamingo Nishiki is a compact, rather common species. Its leaves surprise with their rich cream, pink and green hues.

  • Brittle willow – a common species in Russia, even more popular in Europe and Asia. This is a fairly large tree, the height of which reaches 20 meters. Differs in longevity. The name comes from the fragility of the branches, which bend and crack under the weight of a massive crown. Fallen broken branches become the beginning of the emergence of new plants along reservoirs and on the banks of rivers.

Culture cannot do without this tree, and here it has become known thanks to the following species:

  • Basfordiana willow with yellow-orange shoots.
  • Bubbly - willow with a rounded crown, the shape of which resembles broccoli.
  • Rousseliana - fast growing willow.

Ornamental species include:

  • Red Ardennes species with showy reddish-orange branches.
  • Belgian red species with emerald green leaves on reddish branches.
  • Thin bud — species, the range of shoots of which is very diverse – from green to burgundy;
  • Rod-shaped variety - tall shrub up to 10 meters. It is most often used for weaving, but decorative forms often adorn gardens. So, the shoots have a silver coating, the soft pile of which disappears over time.
  • Holly willow - another name for "red willow". Most of Russia is planted with it, in particular the coastal strips of rivers, reservoirs and lakes. Its shoots are thin, brown, reddish, with two-tone deep green leaves, gray below. The beginning of spring is the time when you can appreciate the beauty of fluffy earrings that bloom before the first leaves appear.
  • Blue Stripe is an elegant tree with bluish leaves.
  • Creeping willow is a small shrub, mostly found in France. Feature - silvery pubescence at the beginning of the branch, which disappears by the end of the shoot. The leaves are also pubescent, but on one, upper, part of the leaf. French law protects this plant species.
  • Shaggy willow is a species native to Iceland. Found in western and northwestern Russia. Bush spherical, low, with densely branched branches. The leaves are velvety, soft, silvery fluff covers the young shoots.
  • The popular lance-shaped species is a low-growing plant that does not exceed 1.5 meters in height. The main place of growth is the slopes and banks of rivers, the tundra and the Alpine expanses. You can often see spear-shaped willow in America, in northern Europe and in Siberia. The bush has a flattened crown in the form of very branched shoots, the leaves on which are fluffy on the lower part of the leaf, and smooth on top.
  • Netted willow is an ornamental species that settled in the Far East and Eastern Siberia. Unusually shaped leaves and creeping stems are a characteristic feature of the mesh willow. It looks great in the execution of a design idea or on the estate.

How to choose a willow for your plot

A huge selection of willow varieties helps us to choose the one that best fits into our landscape and adapts to grow in the conditions of the area. For a change, you can also plant next to the willow - Russian birch.

It is better to focus on the location of the site itself and what conditions are there. It is better to plant a willow tree, of course, in a site where there are no other plantings, and there is room for a new plant. High views are best planted within city parks and squares.

Tall trees are characterized by rapid growth, smoke resistance, which is perfect for planting within residential areas. Willow is a very moisture-loving plant whose life is impossible without thoroughly moistened soil, it does not like drought. It settles well on the banks of water sources, and also grows well in moist soil.

If you plant it in a free summer cottage, then after a while there will be no free space at all. To do this, the tree must be constantly monitored: young shoots are cut down.

Willow of medium height is often planted on the site, giving it a central role. After the tapeworm, lower plants surround.

A hedge is a great way to use the plant. Among the varieties there are those that are suitable for placement in small areas and you do not have to take a lot of space for them. On a country pond or an artificial reservoir on the site, a stunted willow will look great - a kind of river landscape.

Planting a willow

Difficulties in growing and caring for a summer cottage will not arise if you follow all the rules of care. The only difficulty is the difference between widows in order to choose the optimal conditions for each, to propagate it correctly. Therefore, all a gardener needs is to know what species grows in his garden and find information on care.

Growing willow

Willow in general, in any variety, is unpretentious in light and grows well in direct sunlight in open areas. A slight shadow will not harm the tree. Soil moisture is regulated by the species of the plant.

Most of the species are found on the steep banks of water sources. The mighty roots of the tree constantly use a huge supply of water, thereby draining marshy soils. When planting, you should not pay much attention to the soil, the willow is unpretentious to the ground, although it is not averse to growing in nutritious, mineral-rich chernozem.

Fertilize and follow the watering schedule only after planting young seedlings. An adult tree independently feeds on moisture from the ground through a well-developed root system.


Pruning plays an important role: the crown acquires the correct shape, the branches become stronger, the appearance is more decorative. Shrub willows of a low-growing type, whose branches randomly grow in different directions or stretch upwards, can be crowned in the form of different shapes: a ball, a square, a cone. Species with drooping shoots can simply be cut shorter so that they do not touch the ground.

Pruning is also useful for keeping the tree growing. In early spring, it is recommended to remove excess branches, do this before the growing season, or just before frost. You can also ennoble a bush or tree during the summer, but then you won’t have to rely on the growth of young branches.

Standard willow is usually cut into two main modifications - a ball or a fountain. For the “fountain”, only the edges of the shoots are shortened so that they can hang freely, creating the illusion of falling jets of water.

Radical measures apply to the spherical shape: when pruning on a branch, you need to leave the very last bud at the end, from which a young branch will later begin to break through and it will grow as expected - rushing into height.

This way you can save an old willow that spoils the view between young trees, forming its crown into a ball shape. To do this, the trunk is cut at the very bottom, and young branches will appear from it in the future, and they can already be “customized” to the desired shape.

The willow can be helped to prevent it from bending into its habitual position, leaning towards the ground. To do this, the trunk is tied to a metal support, which is installed nearby, securely fixed in the ground. After 3-4 years, the trunk will become even, slender and straight.

How willow is propagated

The plant is propagated by cuttings and seeds. If we talk about the garden plot, cuttings are the most reliable and effective way. Seeds will not sprout as well in open space, aquatic environments or silt are more suitable for their preservation.

Cuttings are cut from the best branches - not young, but not too old. Thick cuttings also will not work, thin ones even more so. Convenient length - up to 25 cm. If you managed to break out the young shoots with a piece of root - a great option for reproduction. The optimal time for planting cuttings is late autumn, around the end of October. If this did not work out in the fall, early spring is also suitable.

All leaves are removed from the cut cuttings and inserted into the soil slightly at an angle. It is possible to soak the prepared cuttings a day before planting, but with a high probability, even without this procedure, they will take root.

When planting two or more species, this is done in rows, with a distance of at least 80 cm between cuttings for shrubs, 2 meters for medium-sized species and 6 meters for tall trees.

Diseases and pests

Many insects feed on willow. Butterflies, beetles and ants find it their habitat. For an adult strong tree, insect attacks are not as terrible as for a young seedling - it is likely that the sprout will not withstand the attack.

To preserve the beauty and health of a fragile tree, you can get rid of pests by collecting them yourself. If there are too many of them, then it is better to resort to modern insecticides and treat the plants with a remedy.

In rural areas, often grazing livestock, in particular goats, feed on young willows. Field mice are no less dangerous for a tree - they grind off healthy roots and shoots of a tree with dexterity with their sharp teeth.

Diseases can also attack the plant. The most common - fungal infection, popularly called "rust" .

The leaves of the trees have orange and brown spots. Only antifungal drugs will help save the tree. Fusarium is another nuisance that can happen to a plant. If the leaves begin to dry and the branches turn black - this is it, fusarium.

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