for Spring 2019
Salix babylonica 'Tortuosa'
babylonica = named by Linnaeus, who thought that this species was from Babylon
Dragons-claw Willow (Lung chao liu)
The Dragon's Claw Willow is the orginal Chinee Curly Willow and the first curly willow seen in the West. It was introduced to France, likely to Vilmorin’s nursery near Paris, by the Belgian engineer and plant collector Joseph Hers during the early 1920s. It is said to be a small tree with an upright, but weeping habit and according to some European authorities it is best kept as a large shrub, but there are much larger specimens in North America that grow to 30ft; perhaps the wood ripens better with the prolonged hotter temperatures experienced here. It is a female selection and is one of the commonest forms of curly willow in gardens and the trade. The stems of our clone are a darker color than most curly willows; Michael saw this in China in 2018 and the stems were bright green. Other curly willow cultivars and hybrids have originated from this original selection.
USES: As an interesting and unique ornamental shrub in the garden; can be coppiced every 1-2 years to produce lots of young stems for floral arrangements and winter containers.
The Dragon's-claw Willow is a dominant presence in this Vermont garden
The trunks and bark the above tree
This tree is not for the faint-hearted gardener.
It's a force to be reckoned with and to buikd a garden around.
Young plants in the nursery after 2-3 years of coppicing.
of Michael Dodge