The leaves are narrow,
alternate, 9-15 cm long and up
to 3 cm wide. They end in a point, often turned in one direction and
have coarse, single-toothed margins. They are dark, shiny-green and
hairless above, bluish-green and hairy only when young, below. The stout
leaf-stalk is 5-15 mm long.
Crack Willow is
a deciduous tree up to 20 m high,
with a short, thick trunk, a deeply ridged bark and a rounded crown.
It has wide-spreading branches and brittle, fragile twigs which break
(crack) cleanly at the base, when bent down. It grows by rivers and
streams and in other wet areas.
Male and female
flowers are in catkins, which appear
with leaves on separate trees (dioecious)
in April and May.
are 4-6 cm long. The male catkins
have pale yellow scales and golden-yellow
The female catkins
are also yellow. The flowers have short, 2-lobed stigmas,
and mature into white woolly seeds in summer.
growing on river banks help to control erosion by holding the soil
The leaves often
have bean galls, 6 mm wide and 12
mm long, projecting above and below containing a sawfly grub.
from the wood is favoured by artists for drawing