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Salix alba - White Willow

Salix alba - White Willow - is native tree which adds interest to any landscape with its shimmering silver leaves that rustle gently in the breeze.

A large tree often found close to water, it can grow up to 25m in height and develops with a wide irregular crown. The name ‘white willow’ comes from the slender leaves, paler than other species. Green on the upper side and with tiny white hairs on the underside which give it the silvery appearance as they flutter in the breeze. In spring, catkins emerge, starting as the furry white tufts which Willows are recognised for. They are produced on bare stems and often used for flower arranging.

Salix alba is a fast growing tree but if required, the size can be maintained by pollarding or coppicing. This is widely practised commercially with the flexible young stems then often used for basket making and weaving.

White Willow will grow well in most well drained to wet soils, in a sunny spot.

FACT: The original source of salicylic acid, documented by Hippocrates as being used to treat aches, pains & fevers.

Plant Profile

Name: Salix alba

Common Name: White Willow

Family: Salicaceae

Height: up to 25m

Demands: Will grow in a sunny spot on most well drained - moist soils. Avoid dry areas

Foliage: Lanceolate foliage with small white hairs, especially on the underside.

Flower: Catkins are borne in spring before the emerging foliage

Bark: Brightly coloured young stems. Becomes fissured and interesting with maturity.

Salix alba info sheet

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