Salix alba var caerulea  

alba = white, caerulea = blue  

Cricket Bat Willow

This is a magnificent specimen tree that is pyramidal and can grow to 100ft. The leaves are glossy green above; silvery, becoming blue on the underside--very showy when the wind blows. After a few years the brilliant yellow male catkins burst open in early May and are an abundant treat for bees! I have never come across a female version! Young stems and trunks are bright green and darken with age; so it can be coppiced to produce lots of young, bright green stems for winter color and arrangements. There aren’t too many bright green colors in a Northern winter--native conifers are usually dark green. Likes full sun, moist soil and grows well beside a pond, stream or river. As with all vigorous trees, don’t plant near drainage pipes. Native to Europe. Hardy to Zone 4. Dried rod color: red-brown to red-tan

USES: Cricket bats, furniture, firewood, ornamental tree.

Cricket-bat Willow in the nursery. A stunning specimen tree in late July!

Cuttings were kindly shared by the great people at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston 2009.

Below: how the same tree looked in April 2015.

Bark of a young tree in the nursery, late March.

The male catkins of our Cricket Bat Willow explode in early May with yellow tassels that bees find irresistible!



These male catkins open with the leaves (botanically coetaneous) and put on quite a show!

A male catkin is a delight to study in detail.

The shape provides a perfect landing site for the many bees and other insects that pollenate willows

Bright green bark of coppiced young stems in early April.

Young stems turns red in late April. The male flower buds line the stems. Probably too twiggy for Basketry?


of Michael Dodge