Salix acutifolia  

acutifolia = short-pointed leaf  

Sharp-leaf Willow

A showy female selection of a species that grows wild in Poland and Russia and is closely related to S. daphnoides. It differs from S. daphnoides in that the leaves are much thinner in texture and are very pointed. It can grow to 20ft x 10ft, but better if coppiced every 2-3 years to encourage vigorous young growth. Young twigs are dark red-purple and mature stems are covered with a vivid white bloom (glaucous). Leaves are long, narrow, pointed, bright green and somewhat weeping. Pointed silvery-white catkins to 2in show early in March-April well before the leaves appear. In early autumn the leaves turn bright yellow; one of the few willows that have great fall color (S. daphnoides does not do this). Very showy in the winter landscape against dark conifers. Grow in full sun; moist, not wet soils; not fussy about pH. Hardy to Zone 4.

USES: all-season ornamental shrub; cut stems for winter displays.

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The Wonderful World of Willows

Vermont Willow Nursery

$14.50 per bundle of 5

Young green shoots appear along the red stems that are hidden by the white waxy "bloom" that easily rubs off. Early May

These shoots are a little older than those at left and clearly show the red stems that in the following year will be covered in the white "bloom".

These stems appear pink from the red coloring of the stems showing through the "bloom". This bloom can last a long time on stems cut and brought inside, if friends can stop themselves from rubbing it off!


A coppiced plant in late winter showing that the "bloom" has disappeared naturally. Also shows the variability of the diameter of stems after coppicing.


A coppiced plant providing a number of long rods that make wonderful cut stems for bringing indoors. Don't put them in water as they last must longer when dry! Early-May

The trunk of a six year-old tree

with an intricate bark pattern. Mid-April

The same tree as at left. Few people could identify that this is a willow by its bark!

Our original plant from cuttings from a friend. It is about 10ft tall after 6 years, and frequent pruning for cuttings! Early-May

left: Young female catkins sparkle along grayish-red stems, with stigmas ready to receive pollen. Right: a pollenated flower with swelling ovaries. Mid-April photos!

Salix acutifolia 'Pendula' is new to us; shown in mid-Summer

This 5ft branch is growing horizontally along the ground!

It will take us 3-4 years to build up stock and find out how best to grow it.

It came from a plant that was about 8ft high and maybe 15ft wide. The generous people at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden allowed us to take cuttings in exchange for finding out what its name was. I suspected it was allied to acutifolia or daphnoides, but

I had no idea there was a cultivar called 'Pendula', until I asked Dr. Julia Kuzovkina of the University of Connecticut and she told me that in her search for correct cultivar names she came across this but had not listed it in her "2105 Checklist for Cultivars of Salix L., (willow)" by Yulia Kuzovkina. She knew of no one that grew this cultivar. She does list Salix acutifolia 'Pendulifolia', which is not the same thing and maybe be the same as 'Blue Streak' as the leaves weep, not the branches,

Salix acutifolia 'Pendula' at the Westonbirt National Arboretum, UK.

It was misidentified, so we gave them the correct name.  

I found this photo in an Internet search and it was shown by an English Nursery as Salix daphnoides and I was told me where the photo came from. So I contacted them and was told they had lost this plant, but had propagated many more before it died. They had the name Salix daphnoides 'Aglaia' on their plant;  that is a very different species and cultivar.  I hope to be able to locate that cultivar as no one in North America seems to grow it.

Below: A plant for future listing!

Six inch long leaves, pointed flower buds and flowers when first open.

The brilliant yellow autumn colour should be spectacular too!

Young red stems with bright green leaves appear at the base of coppiced stems.

Late May

The whiteness of these stems is quite startling in mid-winter either in the garden or as cut stems.

sold out

for Spring 2019