Salix viminalis (Common Osier Willow)

Common Osier Willow


Bareroot from November to April

Buy Online Now »

Trees & Hedging
If your preference is to buy online, you can purchase these plants in cell grown form from our webshop.

We recommend

Rootgrow (Mycorrhizal Fungi)

Boost growth & increase survival rates

Non-trade pricing

Price £ each (ex. VAT)
Height Age 1+ 25+ 100+ 500+ 1000+
60-80cm 0+1 0.73 0.47 0.42 0.40 0.36

Trade / wholesale enquiries

Discounted trade / wholesale prices are available upon request.
Please contact the office for a quotation or a trade price list.

Minimum order values
Please note that there is a minimum order value of £50.00 + VAT, excluding delivery, for existing customers and £75.00 + VAT, excluding delivery, for new customers. Orders under those values can be placed via Trees & Hedging, our online webshop.


Delivery to UK mainland is included for stock orders over £750 + VAT (subject to postcode surcharges). For full details on delivery, please view our delivery page.


The Common Osier, or Willow is a vigorous, fast-growing native shrub, often found in wet or damp situations in the countryside. The young stems are yellow in spring, and the yellow-green catkins attract a variety of insects. The Common Osier is best known as a source of stems for basket-making, but in recent years it has become familiar as the plant used to make living willow sculptures. Environmentally, it is useful for its ability to absorb heavy metals, and is planted to clean up contaminated sites.

Site and soil

Wet and boggy soils, chalk and coastal areas. Will do well on exposed and contaminated sites.

Height and spread

After 10 years: 5m x 5m
After 20 years: 5m x 5m

Leaf and bark

The leaves are glossy, linear and dark green up to 15cm long, silvery-hairy beneath. The bark is smooth and yellow-green on younger shoots.

Flower, seed and fruit

The flowers are greenish catkins, appearing in late winter/early spring before the leaves. The Common Osier is dioecious - male and female flowers are borne on different plants. The males have yellow anthers, and the green female flowers become more spiky before releasing their tiny seeds in June. When bought in quantity there is a good chance both sexes will be represented.


Screening, windbreak, damp woodlands, waterside planting, coppicing, contaminated sites. The Common Osier has the ability to absorb some heavy metals like cadmium, and is often planted to reclaim industrial sites. It is also planted to make small scale water treatment systems; waste water is passed through willow beds, which clean it for re-use. With a growth rate of about 1m per year, the Common Osier is now planted commercially for bio-fuel, although formerly its most familiar use was for basket-making and fencing. Salicylic acid, the active ingredient of aspirin, was originally extracted from the bark.


Important for reclaiming contaminated sites. The catkins provide early pollen and nectar for bees, and a range of butterflies and moths, including the Lackey Moth and the Herald Moth depend on the Common Osier.


For coppicing, the stems are cut down to ground level in winter. For bio-fuels, the cycle is every 3-4 years, for basket-making, every 1-2 years.