White Willow (Salix alba)
White Willow is identified by its beautiful silvery leaves, which turn yellow in autumn. It's often found naturally with Alder as it also enjoys wet conditions. It's a fast growing, unfussy, vigorous tree.It is dioecious, with male and female catkins on separate trees; the male catkins are slightly longer than the female. There seems to be some confusion as to whether it's an archaeophyte - that's to say, whether it was introduced to the UK, many, many years ago, like Sweet Chestnuts - or a "true" native.
Value For Wildlife
Our native Salix seem to be second only to the oaks in terms of dependent species, which include several small mammals. They are an important source of early pollen and nectar for bees in the critical period of early spring, and are a food source for the caterpillars of the Comma.
Together with Osier, which is definitely a non native shrub species, Salix alba is traditionally used for making baskets and hurdles. Willow pollards are a defining characteristic of traditional lowland river and wetland landscapes like the Somerset Levels, and their rapid regrowth has led to biomass experimentation - we include them in our trees for wood fuel collection. A white willow hybrid, Salix alba Caerulea, is used for making cricket bats.
Plants For Sale
Provenance certificates are available on request for our White Willows, which are from the Southwest of England.
Salix alba suppliers: Perrie Hale Forest Nursery
Your purchase helps us support a range of charities, which are related to the products we sell.
See our planting and size guide for details and tips on planting. These White Willow trees are all bare root, and are consequently available for delivery from November until March. During the lifting season there may be up to two weeks delay between placing the order and dispatching, due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders for White Willows placed between March and September are confirmed in October ready for dispatch from November.
Time to Ultimate Height
Over 20 years
Clay, loam, sand, chalk - wet
Neutral, acid, alkaline
Sheltered or exposed