Salix acutifolia ‘Blue Streak’

acutifolia = short-pointed leaf  

Sharp-leaf Willow

A very showy male clone of a species that grows wild in Poland and Russia. It can grow to 30ft x 20ft, but better if coppiced every 2-3 years to encourage vigorous young growth. This cultivar maybe the same as S. a. ‘Pendulifolia’. Young twigs are dark red-purple and mature stems are covered with a vividly white bloom. Leaves, long, narrow, bright green and weeping. They turn bright yellow in Autumn add to the year-round show! Pointed silvery-white catkins to 2in with yellow anthers show early in March-April well before the leaves appear. In autumn the leaves turn bright yellow in a last fling before winter. Very showy in the winter landscape against dark conifers. Grow in full sun; moist, not wet soils; not fussy about pH. Hardy to Zone 4.

USES: all-season ornamental shrub; cut stems for winter displays. Last April I cut a 7ft long stem in full flower, but before the pollen appeared; I didn't put it in water. In October it looked exactly as it had when I brought it in!

2-year growth in the nursery, with elegant weeping leaves and bright white stems in late-August.

Glossy young leaves in spring with red twigs; main stems starting to whiten.

Young stems in late summer with dazzling white bloom that lasts all winter; botanically pruinose!

Showy pointed silver pussies on dark red twigs in late March in Northern Vermont.

These make great long-lasting dried flower bouquets.

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The male flowers have done their thing by early May and new leaves are starting to appear.

First years growth shows a delightful pink-gray color in mid-summer and whiten as autumn approaches.

'Blue Streak' is one of the first willows to open in spring and very long-lasting. Plants are covered with silver-gray catkins in mid-April.

Young catkins with the anthers emerging from the silver-gray pussies in mid-April

Next year's flower buds in late October.

Very distinctive shape.

Bright red stem, bright yellow catkins—this is a real show-off!

Bright yellow leaves of autumn, truly a plant for all seasons!

Golden-yellow Autumn color in late-October is one of the distinguishing features

between this and the closely related S. daphnoides

Who says winter is drab? Take a look at these colors and see the possibilites!

That's S. xfragilis 'Basfordiana' in the background in April.

At top left, an early bee finds food in April! One of the many hot dining spots open in this nursery!


of Michael Dodge