Salix x holosericea

(cinerea x viminalis)

Hybrid  Willow

An extremely vigorous willow with strong stems after coppicing. Very upright in habit and great for large structures. The foliage is a rich dark green and the leaves are ovate as are its parent S. cinerea and displays evidence of Salix viminalis by the length of the flowering stems. I have counted up to seventy blossoms on a single stem; this means that it must be a great resource for bees. We obtained cuttings of this hybrid from several different sources and they are identical. A willow we bought as 'Bowles Hybrid' looks very similar to this; it's possible we received the wrong thing, as 'Bowles Hybrid' is said to have very long leaves like S. viminalis, whereas these leaves are more like S. cinerea! As I write this in mid-October with blazing autumn color all around, these are still a rich dark green! In the first year after planting, this cross has a tendency to grow somewhat sideways! Simply coppice these hard to the ground in the second year and they will grow vertically.

USES: Structures, fences, furniture. It is also suitable for biofuel production. Great for bee-keepers because of the abundance of nectar available.

Taxonomists appear to be in disagreement over Salix x holosericea and Salix x smithiana.

The confusion lies in which of these two Salix viminalis hybrids is a cross with Salix caprea and with Salix cinerea! I have observed is that Salix x holosericea has raised areas under the bark (striae) under the bark as does Salix cinerea.



Salix x holosericea growing in the nursery, with strong vigorous shoots

that one would expect from any Salix viminalis hybrid. Mid October

Catkins bursting out of the gray bud scales inherited from Salix cinerea.

Early April

Female catkins of this hybrid shown in different stages of development.

Bees are attracted by the scent of nectar. Early May.

Mature leaves in late summer with dark green upper surfaces and red petioles (leaf stems).

Undersides are glaucous and have prominent veins.

Late September.

A rare event!

Female catkins that are 2-3 times longer than normal appearing at the tip of a shoot in mid-summer.

Sorry no guys around!

Prominent flower buds in mid-October, they turn red during the late fall and winter,

especially when the leaves fall and expose the buds to full sun. Mid-October

A mature leaf in late summer with dark green, shiny and  crinkled upper surfaces. Leaves are longer and more pointed, that's from Salix viminalis.

Striae under the bark of Salix x holosericea showing clearly it's relationship with Salix cinerea that also have striae. Striae are narrow elongate ridges on the wood seen by peeling back the bark on mostly second year and older twigs. Late April.

Long tall rods inherited from the Salix viminalis parent.

As is the gray feltiness of young shoots that develops in Fall. Early October.

Bright green 2nd-year shoots with tiny leaf buds along the stems. Mid-October


Salix xsericans

right: these two photographs were taken in the willow garden of  Salicologist Tapania Uronen in Finland July 2017. They look quite different from the plants that I have from North American sources. The leaves are grayer on top and the mature catkins are also grayer and hairier! Variable hybrid!


of Michael Dodge