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The Wonderful World of Willows

Vermont Willow Nursery

Salix purpurea 'Leicestershire Dicks'

purpurea = purple

Purple Willow

Another selection that is new to us and this one came from the Chicago Botanic Garden at the side of one of their many parking areas! This clone has very slender dark red stems, small leaves and male flowers. Leicestershire, of course, is a County in the UK and used to be an important willow rod growing area. We have only grown this since April '14 and it has not made much size yet, so we know little about it. It appears to be slower growing than other clones; the slender rods make it a really good variety for fine basketry. It is said to produce 6-7ft rods in England, however willows tend to grow taller in North America because of the hotter weather! We will coppice it this spring and see how it responds to that! More information will come as we observe it this year!

Dried rod color: mottled reds, pinks, yellows & tans


USES: fine basketry of course; it makes a very nice specimen plant once established.

$12.50 per bundle of 5

Buds opened in mid April, gray at first, then pink, then red when the anthers pop.

In early May male catkins are in full bloom.

Overwintering flower buds develop

in September and October.

According to the USDA station in Ames, Iowa in their trials 'Leicestershire Dicks': "maintains a particularly nice, shrubby, multi stemmed form. Its slender purple-red branches, which mature to gray for olive-gray and fine textured leaves add interest in the summer and winter landscape. S. purpurea is well adapted to wet areas and can serve to control erosion along banks of ponds or streams. At maturity this shrub may attain a height of 3 meters [10ft]"

'Leicestershire Dicks' beside one of the visitor parking areas at the Chicago Botanical Garden.

At left in early summer fullness; at right in April covered in flowers, though hard to see that!

Photographs © 2015 Chicago Botanic Garden

'Leicestershire Dicks' at its sexiest best!

Photographs © 2015 Chicago Botanic Garden

'Leicestershire Dicks' in the nursery with hundreds of slender red rods. Late October.