sold out for

Spring 2020

Salix eriocephala 'American MacKay'

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 male selection of the North American willow that is native to our property in Vermont. It is an attractive shrub with long, straight stems that are covered with catkins in April-May. Young foliage is red but turns green after a 2-3 weeks. This is a selection that is used extensively in basketry. Hardy to Zone 3. Dried rod color: dark tan

USES: ornamental shrub, cut stems, basketry

Help!  I have been unable to locate any history for this selection that is also listed as 'American McKay'. If anyone knows anything about who named it and who is it named after, I'd love to have the information? It is just possible that it is a transliteration of

S. x 'Americana' over the 100+ years since that was named; but that is pure speculation.



Young leaves and stipules are a lovely shade of red at first, but soon turn to green.

September growth in the nursery from April-stuck cuttings.

The stipules clasp the red petioles at the base of the leaf. Note the reddish pink of the vein.

The presence and shape of the stipules is used in Salix species identification; as is the saw-tooth leaf edge.

Pink-red young foliage from beneath.

Green stems in September turn red overwinter.

Glaucous undersides of mature leaves.

Male catkins in various stages of development in late April.

This is one of the stock blocks in the nursery where Mackay is showing off in late April. These will be coppiced as soon as the pollen has been taken by bees..

Catkins not yet open, anthers not yet open

and polled mostly gone.

Catkins loaded with pollen.

Rich red-brown stems great for basketry

in late April.

Long unbranched rods with great flexibility.


of Michael Dodge