leaves are in opposite
pairs, up to 8 cm long, shiny above and paler below. They are hairless,
almost parallel-sided, and narrow abruptly into a short point with a
very finely toothed margin. The short leaf-stalks are less than 10 mm
is a deciduous
shrub up to 5 m in height, with shining, hairless, often purplish
twigs and a greyish bark. It is found on river banks, in fens, marshes
and other wet places.
Male and female
flowers are in catkins,
which appear before the leaves on separate shrubs (dioecious)
in March and April.
are 15-30 mm long, erect or curved with no stalk. The hairy males
have red or purple anthers
but the females are green and more slender.
It is the only
native willow with opposite
or almost opposite
It is commonly
planted for ornament because of its colourful stems.
some parts of Britain as an osier, and frequently cut for basket-making.
The male catkins
may be attacked by a gall-midge,
which causes a downy, greyish-white mass to grow at the tip