Salix cordata

(aka S. adenophylla and S. syrticola)

cordata =  heart-shaped

Heartleaf Willow

This willow gets it’s name from the heart-shaped (cordate) leaves that are hairy on both surfaces, giving a whitish overall appearance. This is a Northeastern North American native and is an attractive ornamental shrub. The heart-shaped leaves clasp the shoots with a short leaf stem and have prominent stipules at the base of each leaf. This shrub can reach 12ft tall, but it’s best prune regularly after flowering to keep its shape. We have both male and female selections that grow on short vegetative growths late in the season.  The green female flowers are 2in long at maturity, whereas the male is closer to 1in. If you prefer either male or female, please let us know on the order form. Hardy to Zone 3.    

USES: Rabbits and goats love to feed on this species so you may need to protect it with chicken wire. If you keep pet rabbits or goats this makes good feed for them; they will eat the leaves and the tender tips. We have to protect our stock from rabbits as they decimate it! Great for bees too!


Pruning soon after flowering is true for all spring flowering shrubs to make sure that you get maximum flowering the following spring.

Long stems of the Heartleaf Willow with closely spaced leaves covered with white hairs

and rabbits favorite food on our 50 acres! Mid September.



Here is a 4-5 year old plant in George Newman's amazing garden in New Hampshire showing the upright habit. Probably grows tall to get out of the reach of rabbits!

That's Amsonia front left. Late May


In autumn the leaves turn more rugose (rough textured) and flower buds develop in the leaf axils (see below) late September

Long stems covered with with lots of candelabra like female catkins that have been pollenated. Unlike earlier-flowering species they are produced on short leafy stems.

below: immature female catkins ready for pollenating! Late April

Female catkins that have been pollenated with ovaries swelling. Mid-May

Three years ago we obtained plants of male-flowered Salix cordata. In mid-May they burst out of gray fluffy catkins and explode with yellow-orange anthers.

Above and right.

Distribution of Salix cordata, a native Species

Map used by permission of Dr John Kartesz & BONAP


Color Key

Species present

Species present not rare

stipule >

Salix cordata has very furry gray stems.

This is what the nursery looked like on April 3, 2017 when we returned from out winter in Santa Fe NM.

Late October: leaves have started to change to their autumn-gold glow!

One for the future!

A selection of Salix cordata found wild in Western Canada that I saw in 2017 and was promised cuttings.

Something to look forward to!


of Michael Dodge