Salix babylonica f. tortuosa ‘Swizzle Sticks

(S. matsudana 'Swizzle Sticks')  

babylonica = named by Linnaeus, who thought that this species was from Babylon

matsudana = after Sadahisa Matsuda, a Japanese botanist

Swizzle Stick Curly Willow

This curly willow with such a great name is a selection found by Darrell Probst on the CT/NY border in 1987 and given to me by Allen Bush (how’s that for horticultural name dropping?) Darrell told me that he has found numerous curly willows in the wild, obviously seedlings that may involve other species, but not confirmed. It came to me as S. alba ‘Swizzle Sticks’; but only S. babylonica produces curly stems (from a single gene) and 'SS' lacks the hairiness and glaucous undersides of White Willow leaves. It's possible that it is a hybrid betweeen S. babylonica 'Tortuosa' and S. alba of course. 'SS' has a lacy appearance with pale yellow-green stems and fresh-looking pale green leaves throughout the summer. Stems are a pale yellowish green, when new and reddish orange when mature. They seem to writhe in ecstasy! Hardy to USDA Zone 5.

USES: As a delightful specimen plant, cut stems in bouquets year round, unique plant support sticks and as a very special hedge.

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'Swizzle Sticks' in a residential area clearly showing it's upright habit and curly stems.

Photo courtesy of Gary Koller

Delicate curly foliage and pale yellowish green twigs.

Shown on 1in graph paper.

The Wonderful World of Willows

Vermont Willow Nursery

'Swizzle Sticks' used as a hedge to provide shade for plants that require low light conditions

Photo courtesy of the now closed Loomis Creek Nursery in NY State

Sorry, we have discontinued this selection as it is very prone to a foliar disease for us.