WILLOWS ~ SALIX ~ IN THE FAMILY SALICACEAE
WHY WILLOWS ARE SO SPECIAL!
70-135 MILLION YEARS AGO, DWARF WILLOWS DOMINATED THE WOODY FLORA.
WILLOWS CAN BE ALPINES, ORNAMENTAL SHRUBS OR HUGE TREES
350+/- DIFFERENT SPECIES ON FOUR CONTINENTS;
MOSTLY IN ASIA, EUROPE, NORTH AMERICA AND CIMCUMPOLAR IN THE ARCTIC
NATIVE WILLOWS ARE FOUND IN EVERY STATE EXCEPT HAWAII
OVER 1500 HYBRIDS AND CULTIVARS WORLDWIDE
WILLOWS ARE NATIVE TO MOST TEMPERATE REGIONS,
ALPINE, ARCTIC AND EVEN SOME TROPICAL REGIONS IN ASIA AND AFRICA
THE TERM 'PUSSY WILLOW' COMES FROM THE APPEARANCE OF MALE CATKINS
BEING SIMILAR TO THOSE OF CATS' PAWS!
SOME WILLOWS GROW OVER 100FT TALL, SOME GROW ONLY ONE INCH TALL
WILLOWS ARE EASY TO PROPAGATE, EASY TO GROW AND EASY TO PRUNE
CUTTINGS 1FT TO 20 FT LONG WILL ROOT IF GIVEN WATER
WILLOWS SELF-PROPAGATE BY SEED, STEM FRAGMENTATION AND ROOT SUCKERS
WILLOW CATKINS OR AMENTS HAVE SLIM, CYLINDRICAL FLOWER CLUSTERS (SPIKES), WITH NO PETALS AND ARE INSECT POLLINATED. THEY CONTAIN MANY USUALLY UNISEXUAL FLOWERS, ARRANGED CLOSELY ALONG A CENTRAL STEM.
WILLOWS HAVE MALE AND FEMALE CATKINS ON SEPARATE PLANTS (DIOECIOUS)
RARELY MALE AND FEMALE ORGANS ARE FOUND
IN THE SAME CATKIN (ANDROGYNOUS); USUALLY IN HYBRID WILLOWS
CATKINS OR AMENTS) MAY BE WHITE, BLACK, GRAY, SILVER, PINK OR RED
AND OFTEN CHANGE COLOR FROM WHEN THEY FIRST APPEAR TO MATURITY
SOME WILLOWS FLOWER BEFORE THE LEAVES APPEAR (PUSSY WILLOWS);
THE TERM USED TO DESCRIBE THIS IS PRECOCIOUS
PUSSY WILLOWS CAN BE COPPICED EVERY YEAR AND WILL BLOOM NEXT SPRING
SOME WILLOWS PRODUCE CATKINS ON SHORT LEAFY GROWTHS;
THE TERM TO DESCRIBE THIS IS COETANEOUS
THESE WILLOWS TAKE SEVERAL YEARS TO FLOWER AFTER COPPICING
SOME TAKE SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE THEY PRODUCE ANY CATKINS
MALE CATKINS HAVE BOTH NECTAR AND POLLEN
BEES HARVESTED BOTH NECTAR AND POLLEN SINCE THE CRETACEOUS PERIOD.
BOTH MAKE GREAT TASTING HONEY. ONE OF THE BEST FOOD SOURCES FOR EAGER BEES. THERE ARE 14 SPECIES OF NATIVE BEES THAT USE WILLOWS EXTENSIVELY AS A SOURCE OF POLLEN.
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO
WILLOWS ARE NOTORIOUS PHILANDERERS; POLLENATING INSECTS TRAVEL
BETWEEN CATKINS OF ANY SPECIES IN BLOOM. THIS CAN CREATE PROGENY WITH
MIXED PARENTAGE AND A NIGHTMARE FOR TAXONOMISTS
WILLOWS GROW ALMOST ANYWHERE, EVEN POOR AND POLLUTED SOILS
ALL THE WILLOWS WE OFFER ARE HARDY TO USDA ZONE 4, SOME HARDIER!
MOST WILLOWS ARE NOT EATEN BY DEER
DEER WILL NOT EAT SALIX PURPUREA AND SALIX TRIANDRA
A DENSE WILLOW FENCE/FEDGE WILL KEEP DEER OUT
VARIEGATED WILLOWS TURN GREEN WHEN GROWN IN SHADE!
GREAT LONG-LASTING CUT FLOWERS AND BRIGHT COLORED STEMS
FOR WINTER DISPLAYS; INSIDE OR OUT
FIRST WOODY PLANT TO FLOWER IN SPRING
LAST TREE TO LOSE ITS LEAVES IN AUTUMN
ONE BLOOMS OCTOBER THROUGH APRIL!
WILLOWS HAVE YEAR-ROUND INTEREST
ALMOST ALL WEEPING WILLOW TREES CONTAIN GENES FROM THE CHINESE SALIX BABYLONICA AS IT IS THE ONLY TREE WILLOW WITH THAT GENE!
SALIX BABYLONICA WAS GIVEN THAT NAME BY CAROLUS LINNAEUS, THE FATHER OF MODERN TAXONOMY, PROBABLY BECAUSE OF A PASSAGE IN THE BIBLE:
By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there we hung up our lyres. Psalms 137: 1-2
WHEN THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN THERE WERE NO WEEPING WILLOWS IN BABYLON!
WHAT WAS REFERRED TO WAS POSSIBLY THE BROOK WILLOW
SALIX ACMOPHYLLA: A NATIVE TO THAT AREA
(we have this species, but in very short supply!
AND COMMON ON THE BANKS OF THE RIVER JORDAN
IN SUCCOTH CEREMONIES IN OCTOBER. THE FOUR SPECIES:
On the first day, you will take for yourselves a fruit of a beautiful tree, palm branches, twigs of a braided tree and brook willows, and you will rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. -Leviticus 23:40
For more history on this subject please click here: http://ch7.io/cbgx8
IN DYNGUS DAY EASTER CELEBRATIONS, ESPECIALLY IN BUFFALO NY,
PUSSY WILLOWS ARE USED IN "FROLICKING FUN"
A WILLOW GARDEN IS CALLED A SALLEY GARDEN IN BRITAIN AND IRELAND
"Salley" or "sally" is a form of the Standard English word "sallow", i.e., a tree of the genus Salix
It is also close in sound to the Irish word saileach, meaning Willow.
Below is a link to a sung version to a beautiful Irish song "Down by the Salley Garden"
GARDEN ART AND STRUCTURES
BIODEGRADABLE COMPOST BINS
CUT STEMS FOR FORCING
FENCES, AND WATTLES – LIVE AND DRIED WILLOWS
SCREENS AND WINDBREAKS
HERODOTUS DESCRIBED CORACLES BUILT WITH WILLOWS
IN THE 5TH CENTURY BC
ARTIST’S FINE CHARCOAL
FOOD FOR BOVINES, RABBITS AND GOATS
SPEARS FOR THROWERS
EVEN CRICKET BATS
DOMES, TUNNELS, CHAIRS, ARCHES, TEMPLES, TEE-PEES
WOVEN TREES IN CONTAINERS = ""
CHICKEN AND RABBIT TUNNELS TO HIDE FROM HAWKS
RIVER AND STREAM BANK RESTORATION
WILLOWS ARE USED EXTENSIVELY FOR RESTORING ERODED OR DISTURBED BANKS. THEY ARE ONE OF THE FEW WOODY PLANTS THAT ROOT QUICKLY AND EASILY FROM CUTTINGS; THUS MAKING SUCH PROJECTS MUCH CHEAPER THAN USING ESTABLISHED PLANTS.
CLEAN UP TOXIC WASTE SITES BY ABSORBING
CHEMICALS AND HEAVY METALS AND NEUTRALIZING THEM.
WILLOWS ARE BEING USED TO CLEAN UP POLLUTED INDUSTRIAL SITES
WASTES OF COAL MINING AND BURNING AND OTHER MINING WASTE
WILLOWS CAN BE GROWN UNDER WALNUT TREES AS THEY ARE NOT AFFECTED BY THE CHEMICAL JUGLONE THAT WALNUTS PRODUCE
FOR BURNING DIRECTLY AND TO MAKE ETHANOL
WILLOWS ARE ENVIRONMENTLY SUPERIOR TO CORN FOR ETHANOL. THEY DO NOT HAVE TO BE PLANTED EVERY YEAR AND DON'T NEED THE USE OF WEEDKILLERS AND POISONOUS PESTICIDES TO GROW
ANCIENT EGYPTIANS, ASSYRIANS AND HERODOTUS (5THC BC)
DESCRIBED USING WILLOWS AS A PAIN KILLER
ASPIRIN WAS FIRST DERIVED FROM SALICIN FROM SALIX
NATIVE AMERICANS CHEWED WILLOW STICKS FOR TOOTHACHE
AND OTHER PAIN
SALICYLIC ACID FROM WILLOWS IS USED TO CONTROL
DANDRUFF AND WARTS
SALICYLIC ACID WAS THE FIRST CHEMICAL ROOTING AGENT
FOR HARD-TO-ROOT PLANTS OTHER THAN WILLOWS.
THIS WAS FOLLOWED BY INDOLE BUTYRIC ACED (IBA)
AND ALSO FOUND IN WILLOWS AND STILL WIDELY IN USE
AND URNS FOR ASHES
Willow in other languages
WILLOW = SAULE = WEIDE = SAUCE = SALICE = ива = Yángliǔ = YANAGI
English French German Spanish Italian Russian Chinese Japanese
SEILEACH = HELYG = SELJE = VIDE = PADU = WILG = עֲרָבָה
Scottish Welsh Norwegian Swedish Finnish Dutch Hebrew
We are sold out of both of these items
All the material in this website is
Copyright 2021 Michael Dodge. All rights reserved.
Nothing may be used without written permission from the Michael Dodge.
Layout, text and photographs by Michael Dodge unless otherwise noted.
click here for
10in Cuttings are sold in bundles of 5, Minimum order is 2 bundles
Facts About Vermont Willow Nursery
We offer 170 different willows; this is by far the largest willow offering in the country. Our complete Salix collection of nearly 450 is larger than the collections of any nursery, Arboretum or Botanic Garden in North America!
We list 20 native North American species, 4 cultivars and 2 hybrids. Largest such offering in the country!
See to help you select willows !
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The Wonderful World of Willows
Vermont Willow Nursery
a Curly Willow hybridized at SUNY Syracuse that has proved very popular.
is a another popular variety with the reddest stems of any purpurea.
our best-selling willow. Easy to see why! Sells out every year even though we keep planting more! Cut stems flower for Valentine's Day!
, the Forked Catkin Willow. New for 2021.
The strangest catkins of all the willows in our collection.
One of the loveliest native North American Willows. Abundant catkins and showy foliage.
< Michael, Aric and Lisa
November 8, 2020 having finished the Fall harvest and shipping.
2020 at Vermont Willow Nursery
What a year it has been for us at the nursery. By March 15 we had
572 orders, 8% ahead of spring 2019; then we had to close off all further sales due to Covid-19. Our disappointment was profound,
but we knew we would be severely short-staffed through April and May due to the Vermont Lockdown. We thought we would have to contend with handling the harvest and shipping alone - a daunting task for Sonia and me. But, a wonderful young couple (Lisa and Aric) came to our rescue and, while quarantining in our teardrop trailer, worked outside through biting cold, wind, snow, and rain. These noble souls worked extremely hard and experienced all aspects of the business with enthusiasm and dedication.
We re-opened for business on June 1 - making an exception, we offered a Fall shipping window in early November. Lisa and Aric returned after more quarantining at home in New Jersey. Then with noses to the grindstone helped us ship over 60 orders to the Deep South and Pacific Coast customers. This was a success and will be repeated in 2021.
Sonia and I are pleased to announce that we transferring ownership to this ideal couple to take on the reins of our beloved nursery and willow collection. As of January 2021 we are handing over Vermont Willow Nursery into the capable hands of Lisa Carper and Aric Vanselous. With Michael happily committed to remaining as mentor and consultant over the next three years, we are confident that Lisa and Aric will take VWN into the future. All our customers, old and new, can expect the same superior quality of willow cuttings and rods, collections and kits, plus the continuation of dependable customer service we have built our reputation on. Thank you for your wonderful support during the past fourteen years of Vermont Willow Nursery. Sonia and Michael.
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