Salix integra

integra = entire, untoothed

Smooth Willow

This species is native to China, Japan, Korea and Russia and is an attractive, vigorous upright small tree 12-15 feet tall with slightly weeping shoots. Several selections have been named and the cultivars are smaller and more spreading. The stemless leaves are bluish-green and clasp the stems in opposite pairs; young leaves are delicately tinted with orange and pink tones. This is a female selection (curiously all the named cultivars of this species are also female selections--there must be guys somewhere!). The branchlets are yellow to red, smooth and shiny; the rods tend to peel their outer layer to reveal green stems. The flowers are small and not showy and appear before the leaves. After coppicing it grows 8-10ft in a single year with very few branches making it suitable for living structures and basketry! Cuttings were obtained from one of our generous customers! I have seen this species in only one Public Gardens in North America and that was the Montreal Botanic Garden! It was unlabelled, but I was able to inform them what it was, as I already had it in my collection! The Arnold Arboretum list it in their collection, but I haven't seen their specimen. Less tolerant of wet conditions than most Salix. Hardy to Zone 4.

USES: basketry, living structures, small distinguished tree

cultivar = cultivated variety

This pair of large bushy shrubs are in the Montreal Botanic Garden.

They must have been coppiced at some time to make them branch at the base. Mid-June

Female flowers appear on opposite sides of the stem; a characteristic found on the cultivars of this species. Mid-May  The old thin covering on the stem is starting to peel.

Leaves are also opposite in this species; easy to identify as few willows have this feature.

One of the two plants above showing the form of this specimen.

Here is a branch that started growing downward and the leaves know which side should be up, so they are twisting around. Plants are smarter than we think!

The handsome foliage of this species makes it a great garden plant.

One of the few willows with leaves that are opposite, not alternate.

Bright green leaves on the upper surface and blue-gray underneath.

Shot on a drizzly day in early July in the Helsinki Botanic Garden.

A fine specimen with lush bright green leaves in early July in the Helsinki Botanic Garden.

That's Salix udensis on the left, something that was on my want list until 2017!

Salix integra makes long straight rods with few side twigs; a lovely red brown too, with a look of bamboo!

Early April.


of Michael Dodge