Salix x meyeriana 'Silver Lake'

(pentandra x euxina)

Prairie Reflection® Laurel Willow

We obtained cuttings of 'Silver Lake' by the generosity of the Morton Arboretum in Chicago. It's a great selection of the Hybrid Laurel Willow. This willow was selected by the North Dakota State University Research/Extension from a farm in Brinsmade ND where it flourished for nearly a century—so you know its one heck of a tough plant! It was tested on four other sites where it far surpassed other clones in survival rate. It makes a dense, round-headed tree with a height of 35-40ft at maturity and about as wide. The foliage is very shiny, dark green on top, paler underneath; leaves are 4-5 inches long and tapered at the apex. Catkins are female and produced on short, leafy stems about 1in long. They are pale, yellowish green at first and mature all green. To obtain a single-trunk tree it will be necessary to prune off side branches as they appear. It is tolerant to a wide range of soils and a wide range of pH in the soil. 'Silver Lake' has a registered trade mark in the US and Canada as 'Prairie Reflection'. Hardy to Zone 3!

USES: A superb specimen tree, makes a wonderful screen to hide unsightly neighbouring eyesores. Extremely hardy selection.

Botanical note: This tree was introduced as Salix pentandra 'Silver Lake', but turned out it was the hybrid Salix pentandra x Salix euxina (S. x meyeriana). In 2011 Alexey Zinojev of Harvard University published a paper on the subject of Salix pentandra in New England after extensive research when he failed to locate a single specimen of the true Salix pentandra although many public gardens listed this species. There is a simple test whether specimens are pentandra or S. x meyeriana and that is to try snapping a 1 year old twig from it's base. If it snaps, it's S. x meyeriana. This characteristic comes from its Crack Willow parent: Salix euxina.

See the video below by Todd West of North Dakota State University demonstrating this!

A lovely specimen of 'Silver Lake' in the amazing Morton Arboretum in Chicago

Vigorous growth in the nursery from cuttings stuck in April.

Photos taken in early Autumn in the nursery.

The leaves are very shiny which is why it was called 'Silver Lake'

At the top of the petiole and on the edge of the stipules are glands that give these areas a lumpy look.

Next year's flower buds appear in the axils of the leaves and have somewhat flattened tips.

These are photos taken from the trees at the Morton Arboretum and show the female catkin coming out of the bud scales with undeveloped leaves alongside.

At left a shot in the nursery of the female catkins just before their peak.

At right, at maturity from one of the Arboretum's trees.


of Michael Dodge