Salix eleagnos 'Angustifolia'

(synonym S. e. ‘Rosmarinifolia’)

eleagnos = like Russian Olive      angustifolia = narrow leaf)

Rosemary Willow

This choice shrub or small tree is known as Rosemary Willow as the small narrow leaves are reminiscent of the herb. It's a very attractive, compact large shrub that can grow to 15ft high by 15ft wide. The leaves are 3-6in long and 1/8-1/4in wide; gray at first, but later turn dark green above and dense white woolly hairs beneath. In spring there is a prolific burst of golden catkins on male plants and in fall the leaves turn a dazzling bright yellow. Ours are female plants, although some are yet to bloom. Deer will not eat this willow. Hardy to USDA Zone 4.

USES: ornamental shrub in borders, by pools or ponds, even large rock gardens and containers.

NB: There is a willow called Salix rosmarinifolia in Europe that is very different from this willow. It's also very rare in North America, so if you see a plant labelled with the scientific name Salix rosmarinifolia, chances are it's mislabelled and it is really Salix eleagnos or, more likely, the narrow leaf form Salix eleagnos 'Angustifolia'!

Apparently in Finland S. rosmarinifolia is much hardier than what we know as the Rosemary Willow.

I managed to locate a plant, got cuttings, but haven't propagated it yet.

Salix elaeagnus

We are looking for a taxonomically verified plant of the species Salix eleagnos,

not the form offered here.

I would appreciate any leads to this

and will swap 10 cuttings of any plant in my list for

10 cuttings of this species--if it’s true to name!!!

Thanks very much!

This unique willow has a delightful feathery appearance and looks like a rosemary on steroids. Too bad it doesn’t have the same bouquet!

photo courtesy of Don Statham at

Below: Rosemary Willow blowing in the wind at the Montreal Botanic Garden

at right: Rosemary Willow at North Hill, the amazing garden of Joe Eck and the late Wayne Winterrowd in Southern Vermont. This plant was given to them decades ago by the late Linc Foster, father of the North American Rock Garden Society and cherished friend.

Above and below: Rosemary Willow in Margaret Roach’s garden in early-summer and fall.

A great shrub for all seasons.

Click on the link below for the complete story, but please come back!



The foliage of Rosemary Willow is long and linear, green on top and silvery-white underneath.

Photos taken in the Montreal Botanic Garden.

The Wonderful World of Willows

Vermont Willow Nursery

$14.50 per bundle of 5

Female catkins that are just opening (L Denver Botanic Garden--early April) and those that have been fertilized and starting to show the fluffy hairs that help disperse the seed (R). Mid-May.

Male catkins in an internet photos from Silvano Ravido in Italy.

I have yet to see a male flower in person!

These female catkins are on one of my plants. Like many other Salix on my property it flowered freely in 2017 for the first time. I have no explanation unless it was the drought in 2016. Mid-May.

I spied this caterpillar while photographing the flowers at left. It wasn't eating my plant so I let it be. Early September.

The bushes to the right of this children's playhouse are mature specimens of the Rosemary Willow on a tiny island.  But not as old as the 300 year-old weeping willows behind them at left.

This scene is at Grand Pre in Nova Scotia in August 2016. A historical site well worth the visit.

It explains the horrors of the British and New Englanders who took the land off the Arcadiens.

Then in 1755 they split up families and shipped them to Haiti and Louisiana.

above and left: a shrub at the Chicago Botanic Garden with catkins opening in early April.

They coppice many of their willows regularly as you can see by the stubs left behind.

This keeps the bushes a more manageable size.

at left: One of several young specimens on our property. This one is wind blown in a late September storm. I love seeing the silvery underside of the leaves showing as I peer out of a bedroom window. Deer do not eat the leaves of this bush even though they pass by it quite often.