Salix 'The Hague'
Salix xleucopithecia 'The Hague' (gracilistyla x caprea)
This is the female version of what we improperly listed as S. chaenomeloides, now S. 'Winter Glory' (gracilistyla x caprea). An upright shrub with thick, gray-brown, densely pubescent branches to 20ft. This female hybrid has huge, showy catkins that are produced in masses before the leaves in March-April and are a good early nectar supplier for bees. Leaves are bright green above and glaucous beneath. This is a cross between Asian and European species; hybridized by S.G.A. Doorenbos in The Hague (den Haag), Netherlands. Coppiced, this hybrid makes long rods suitable for making living willow structures and coarse basketry. Hardy to USDA Zone 4.
USES: ornamental shrub as a focal point, by pools or ponds; great cut flower stems in late winter.
pubescent = downy, coated with dense, soft hairs
glaucous = bluish gray
Young female catkins on The Hague Willow. Mid-April
The yellow-green 'dots' on the catkins (at left) are the stigmas waiting for bees to bring pollen.
Red 'dots' on the older catkin at right. Late-April.
entice the bees with the sweet smell of nectar!
Young downy foliage and stems that, like ducklings, soon lose their down! Mid-August.
Wonderful bright red foliage of the new growth and reticulate (crinkly) leaves in maturity.
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An uncoppiced plant smothered in pussy willows!
Ripe female catkins being visited by tiny wasps or flies for the nectar. Mid-April.
Very young growth with near white stems and a perfect leaf with prominent white central vein!
Undersides of the leaves are glaucous blue and have small white hairs to small to see with the naked eye.
In September the flowers buds develop in the axils of the leaves. Beside them are a pair of leafy stipules.
In a sunny location some flower buds will split open in October and out will pop the the hairs that protect the sensitive parts.
Gradually the bud scales lose their hairs during winter.
Catkins expanding in mid-April.
Pussy willows in early-April.
The little green dots in the fluff are the stigmas of the female flowers and will develop into the receptacles for pollen.