Salix acutifolia  

acutifolia = short-pointed leaf  

Sharp-leaf Willow

A showy female selection of a species that grows wild in Poland and Russia and is closely related to Salix daphnoides and Salix rorida. It differs from Salix daphnoides in that the leaves are much thinner in texture and are very pointed. It can grow to 20ft x 10ft, but better if coppiced every 2-3 years to encourage vigorous young growth. Young twigs are dark red-purple and mature stems are covered with a vivid white bloom (glaucous). Leaves are long, narrow, pointed, bright green and somewhat weeping. Pointed silvery-white catkins to 2in show early in March-April well before the leaves appear. In early autumn the leaves turn bright yellow; one of the few willows that have great fall color (Salix daphnoides does not do this). 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.

HOME           SALIX INDEX        BEST WILLOWS FOR...          WILLOW STRUCTURES       ABOUT US            


Young green shoots appear along the red stems that are hidden by the white waxy "bloom" that easily rubs off. Early May

These shoots are a little older than those at left and clearly show the red stems that in the following year will be covered in the white "bloom".

These stems appear pink from the red coloring of the stems showing through the "bloom". This bloom can last a long time on stems cut and brought inside, if friends can stop themselves from rubbing it off!


A coppiced plant in late winter showing that the "bloom" has disappeared naturally. Also shows the variability of the diameter of stems after coppicing.


A coppiced plant providing a number of long rods that make wonderful cut stems for bringing indoors. Don't put them in water as they last must longer when dry! Early-May

The trunk of a six year-old tree

with an intricate bark pattern. Mid-April

The same tree as at left. Few people could identify that this is a willow by its bark!

Our original plant from cuttings from a friend. It is about 10ft tall after 6 years, and frequent pruning for cuttings! Early-May

left: Young female catkins sparkle along grayish-red stems, with stigmas ready to receive pollen. Right: a pollenated flower with swelling ovaries. Mid-April photos!

Young red stems with bright green leaves appear at the base of coppiced stems.

Late May

The whiteness of these stems is quite startling in mid-winter either in the garden or as cut stems.


of Michael Dodge