Salix eriocephala S25 'Vigorella'

erio = wooly, cephala = head

referring to the female flowers when the fruit is ripe

Wooly-head Willow, Missouri Willow (where it was first named)

A friend suggested that this hybrid should be called 'Vigorella', as that's what this is!

It's a cross between two wild collected clones of this native plant and produced at the University of Toronto. The result is astonishing! This is the most vigorous S. eriocephala

I have ever seen, growing twice the height of all other selections of this species in one year! I believe that is due to hybrid vigour (heterosis); a phenomenon in some plants where crossing two different clones/species of plants produces much more vigorous offspring! It is an attractive shrub with larger leaves than the species and long, straight stems that are covered with female catkins in April-May. It is highly insect and disease resistant and forms a shrub that can grow 15-20ft tall, but better if coppiced every 2-3 years to get more young flowering stems. Adaptable to a wide range of soil and moisture conditions. Like all willows, it prefers full sun! Hardy to Zone 4.

USES: The disease resistance and high biomass production of this species makes it well suited for streambank restoration, riparian buffers, privacy hedges, bovine fodder, biomass plantations, and ornamental plantings.

The above information has been adapted from the following publication:

Young growth is tinged red and turn to fresh green  with stipules clasping the base of the petiole.



Unfertilized female catkins with pinkish stigmas and hairy pedicels (stems that hold the female flower parts) make an appealing show. Mid-May.

Stipules and young shoots as they appear in mid-summer.

By mid-April all remains of the leaves, stipules and hairy stems have disappeared.

A young plant with new growth on a coppiced one-year old plant. Mid-June.

Masses of female catkin appear all along the stems of the previous year's growth.

In October, flower buds for the following year develop at the base of the leaf petioles.

Young growth has densely hairy stems. At right, stipules clasp the base of the leaf petiole

An unpruned two-year-old stock plant in the lower nursery. Everything else was coppiced in this area.

This leaf is 9in long. Upper surface above,

lower surface below, both green.

A plant the same age as the photo at left,

not coppiced.

Young, vigorous foliage of coppiced growth; red tinged new growth characteristic of the species.

Densely wooly stems and pedicels, with ovaries turning brown. Mid-May.


In our stock of Salix S25 'Vigorella', there were two guys who had all the same chacteristics as the gals, but with male catkins: vigour, long straight rods and extremely free flowering. Now we have to decide if we should list this as well?


of Michael Dodge