Salix xfragilis f. Vitellina 'Cardinal'  

  Cardinal Willow

NEW IN 2017

I was allowed to take cuttings from this plant at the Chicago Botanic Gardens in exchange for cuttings from Vermont Willow Nursery and assistance with the nomenclature of their extensive collection of Salix. It is very similar to Salix 'Britzensis', but is a deeper shade of red and a female selection, whereas 'Britzensis' is male. It also goes by the name S. 'Coccinea', but 'Cardinal' takes precedent. Obviously likes full sun, moist soil and grows well beside a pond, stream or river. Frequent coppicing is recommended to get the brightest colors; this should be done in late Winter, before leaf-break. As with all vigorous trees, don’t plant near drainage pipes. Native to Europe. Hardy to Zone 4. Dried rod color: orange to red

USES: Winter color, firewood, ornamental tree.

Willow Color Border by the North Lake at the Chicago Botanic Garden with S. x fragilis f. Vitellina 'Cardinal' at the far end! This was shot in early-April, a great time to visit the garden!

Below: the two shrubs strutting their stuff after being coppiced two-years before!



Female catkins open in mid-May with the leaves (coetaneous) and bees love them!

The base of the plants at the Chicago BG in mid-May, the more sunshine the stems receive, the deeper the color.

The Wonderful World of Willows

Vermont Willow Nursery

$14.50 per bundle of 5

Bright red bark of young stems in the nursery.

Photographed in October at left; early-May at right with buds opening.

By mid-May the red stems are smothered with leaves and the shoot tips turn yellow.

Below is a December photograph in the nursery of 'Cardinal' that is six years old and about 10 ft tall.

The trunk is orange yellow and the young branches are luscious dark red. This lady is quite a show off!

This plant has never been coppiced; compare the tree growing naturally and a coppiced shrub at left.