for Spring 2018
Salix myricoides hybrid 'Bronze Beauty'
myricoides = myrica like
Bayberry or Blueleaf Willow
This selection came from our original plant that originated in Wisconsin. I propagated 15 cuttings from our plants of Salix myricoides in 2014 and two cuttings, obviously from the same branch produced new leaves that look they had been treated with Coppertone®. So I took cuttings from one of these plants and they all were identical to the sport. It is more vigorous and has larger leaves than the original species. I believe now that it must be a hybrid that I didn't notice among the plants of Salix myricoides as they were dormant when I took the cuttings. If this was a seedling it never regrew after I took the cuttings, so maybe I cut it so hard the parent plant didn't recover.
It is a well-behaved shrub with several stems, many more if coppiced for a year or two. The young twigs are typically reddish-brown, but has been found with yellow-green variants, ours are the former. The handsome shiny, relatively thick leaves are its best feature and appear densely on the stems; this selection has larger leaves than the species, 6in long by 2.5in wide. The undersides are densely glaucous and appear almost white. When the wind blows (as it usually does on our ridge) the undersides of the leaves flash like summer snowbirds. Catkins appear before or as the leaves are opening and our plants have female catkins that are attractive and abundant. Hardy to USDA Zone 2?
USES: a fine shrub for the average garden with attractive bronze new foliage and a looser habit than the species.
Present in County
Present in State
Present but rare
Distribution of Salix myricoides in the US
Map used by permission of Dr John Kartesz & BONAP
Three rows in the nursery: koriyanagi top, myricoides middle and integra 'Flamingo' bottom.
Imagine our surprise when up popped this bronze-leaved form of myricoides growing amongst the usual bright green leaved species. All our cuttings came from one stock plant, so this is considered a branch sport! We propagated from this sport and all the progeny have the same characteristics.
Below is the species with typical coloring of young growth, here seen with a 1/2in long tree frog.
Catkins and leafy shoots appear in mid-to late April
Scarlet-red flower buds in the axils of the leaves, red petioles (leaf stalks), and large stipules at the base of the leaves. All these are used for identification.
There are only a few willows that have this kind of coloration, quite extraordinary.
Here is a leaf of Salix myricoides on top of 'Bronze Beauty'
of Michael Dodge