Salix alba (White Willow)
|Price £ each (ex. VAT)|
Bareroot from November to April
The prices above are offered as a guide and may be subject to fluctuation dependant upon the time of season and supply. We recommend that contact is made with the office for larger orders, a quotation and to check availability Alternatively please contact us to enquire about opening a wholesale account.
A British native, the White Willow is found growing wild mostly in the south of the country. An attractive tree, whose branches droop elegantly with age and whose narrow silvery leaves distinguish it from other willows. The White Willow makes a good specimen tree near water, but it is also commonly coppiced and pollarded for its young, flexible shoots.
Site and soil
Moist deep rich soils and boggy sites. Avoid dry soils. Makes a good tree in coastal districts.
Height and spread
After 10 years: 12m x 4m
After 20 years: 16m x 5m
Leaf and bark
The lance-shaped leaves have finely serrated edges and grow up to 10cm. The upper surface is dull green, the lower glaucous, covered with white silky hairs when young. A white down remains on the lower leaf throughout the season. The bark is grey-brown and fissured.
Flower, seed and fruit
The yellow male and green female catkins appear on separate trees in April, the female releasing white fluffy seeds in June.
Wet woodlands, riverside planting, water meadows, coppicing, pollarding, stabilising riverbanks. The bark was once used medicinally and for tanning leather. The wood was used to make charcoal for gunpowder. A variety of White Willow, Salix alba var.caerulea is used to make cricket bats. When coppiced, the withies are used for basket making and fencing.
Bees feed are attracted to the flowers, and a range of butterfly and moth larvae, including the Large Tortoiseshell and Comma butterfly, feed on the leaves.
Pollarding and coppicing should be carried out in early spring.