Weeping Willow
(Salix x sepulcralis)
Simple
Linear
Alternate
Tree
Minutely toothed

leaves

weeping branch

tree

distribution map

The leaves are narrow, alternate, 7-12 cm long and up to 18 mm wide. They end in a very slender, tapering point, often turned in one direction and have a fine, regularly toothed margin. They are bright green above, bluish-green below, and only hairy, on both surfaces, when young. The leaf-stalk is very short, under 8 mm in length.

ID check

Weeping Willow is an introduced, deciduous tree which grows up to 12 m tall. It is instantly recognised by its slender 'weeping', golden-yellow twigs. The bark is greyish-brown, deeply and coursely fissured. It is widely planted for ornament on river banks, pond margins and in parks and gardens.

Male and female flowers are in catkins which appear with the leaves on separate trees (dioecious) in April.

The catkins are 3-4 cm long. The male catkins have pale yellow scales and yellow anthers.

The female catkins are also yellow. The flowers have very short indistinct styles.

Facts

  • The commonest cultivated 'weeping willow' first introduced to Britain from a German nursery in about 1908.

  • It is probably a hybrid of garden origin, between a Chinese species, Salix babylonica and the White Willow, Salix alba.

  • Although the Latin names link it with willows beside the waters of Babylon the trees there were poplars

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