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 FOR BEES

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

http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday5.htm    

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" https://www.dyngusday.com

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"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=027ZJX5XVjs

WILLOW USES

BASKETRY

GARDEN ART AND STRUCTURES

PLANT SUPPORTS

BIODEGRADABLE COMPOST BINS

BIRD FEEDERS

CUT STEMS FOR FORCING

FENCES, FEDGES 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  ATLATL THROWERS

EVEN CRICKET BATS

LIVING STRUCTURES

DOMES, TUNNELS, CHAIRS, ARCHES, TEMPLES, TEE-PEES

WOVEN TREES IN CONTAINERS = "HARLEQUIN TREES"

CHILDREN’S PLAYHOUSES

CHICKEN AND RABBIT TUNNELS TO HIDE FROM HAWKS

'LIVING CATHEDRALS'

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.

http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/restoration/techniques/srrestoration.htmlrestoration.html

PHYTOREMEDIATION

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

BIOFUELS

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

MEDICAL USE

ANCIENT EGYPTIANS, ASSYRIANS AND HERODOTUS (5THC BC)

DESCRIBED USING WILLOWS AS A PAIN KILLER

ASPIRIN WAS FIRST DERIVED FROM SALICIN FROM SALIX

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

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


NATIVE AMERICANS CHEWED WILLOW STICKS FOR TOOTHACHE

AND OTHER PAIN

OTHER USES

NATIVE AMERICANS ALSO USED WILLOWS FOR THE RIBBING OF BULL BOATS: THESE WERE UTILITARIAN BOATS MOSTLY FOR WOMEN TO HAUL VARIOUS ITEMS. THEY USED BUFFALO HIDES OVER THE RIBS.

AFTER MORE INVESTIGATION WE DISCOVERED THAT WILLOWS WERE USED TO BUILD CORACLES IN ANCIENT EGYPT AND OTHER PARTS OF THE GLOBE.


BIODEGRADABLE COFFINS AND URNS FOR ASHES

MUSK WATER

MUSK WATER IS MADE FROM SALIX AEGYPTIACA

IT IS WIDELY DRANK IN MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES WHERE THIS WILLOW GROWS. THE WATER SMELLS LIKE BELLODGIA, A PERFUME CREATED IN 1927 BY CARON


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

BEST WILLOWS FOR...    WILLOW VARIETIES     ORDER CUTTINGS      ORDER RODS     COLLECTIONS     DIY STRUCTURES     MAKING A FEDGE  


COPPICING & POLLARDING           ABOUT US          EROSION  CONTROL          RESOURCES          WILLOWS FOR BEES

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.

willowmanvt@me.com

PLANTING CUTTINGS

click here for

planting instructions

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  "BEST WILLOWS FOR" to help you select willows!

...and now for something totally different:

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The Wonderful World of Willows

Vermont Willow Nursery

Salix pendulina f. xerythroflexuosa 'Sunny Twist',

This Curly Willow hybridized at SUNY Syracuse has become very popular because of its colorful stems.

Salix purpurea 'Nancy Saunders' is a another popular variety with the reddest stems of any purpurea.

Salix gracilistyla Mt Aso' 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!

Salix 'Winter Glory' mixed with the Black Pussy Willow: Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachya'.

Salix x fragilis 'Furcata', the Forked Catkin Willow. New for 2021.

The strangest catkins of all the willows in our collection.

Welcome to the Fall 2021-Spring 2022 willow year!

We hope everyone's planting has gone well! You're remembering to water your cuttings, right?

Our first year continues to challenge us. First Mother Nature sent us an early bloom, now we have aphids and corn borers! We do not believe in the use of synthetic pesticides and try to avoid them when at all possible. Instead of those, we're using predatory bugs. By now I've been back and forth from New Jersey to the nursery in my fight with these aphids, and I'm so grateful to Michael and Sonia for making me feel welcome into their home while I do. Once things settle, we'll be posting updates on the situation.

Speaking of settling, Lisa and I will be moving in August to become permanent residents of Vermont! I swore I would never move again, but this time I mean it. This entire year has been one long transition and we're finally approaching the end of it.

We understand that some functions of the website do not work as intended. We're currently working on a new design that will go live before the Fall. Why didn't anyone tell me web development would be so complicated?

While we're battling against insects, we're also packing the entire contents of our house. We've also been beset by personal tragedy. A member of our family, Lisa's brother Zach, passed away unexpectedly. Zach was a wonderful, giving person. Without his aid, Lisa and I wouldn't be here. The light of the world is dimmed by his passing.

Please understand that you, our friends and clients, are extremely important to us. Know that we will answer your questions and send out confirmation letters for your orders as quickly as we're able, but we require (and are so thankful for) your patience during this time.

A few quick updates on this Fall's shipping season:

We are shipping cuttings and rod orders for USDA Hardiness Zones 8 and up ONLY.

All orders for kits will be shipped in the Spring, regardless of Zone.

We'll post another update in a month or so.

Thanks so much for visiting us.

Aric and Lisa


< A spring photograph of Salix xfragilis female catkins. Wild and wonderful. The first time we have seen female catkins of this Willow! The brown "head of the snake" is actually the winter bud scale.

our e-mail address:


contactus@willowsvermont.com