Salix myrsinifolia

myrsinifolia = nigricans = myrsine-leaf willow

Green Myrsine-leaf Willow

This willow used to be called S. nigricans, a much more appropriate name than the current name. Lets hope taxonomists try to be sensible, not so stuck on formality. Anyway, this shrub is an all green selection of what is called the Dark-leaf Willow. Leaves are green, stems are green, female catkins are green! After 6 years in the nursery our largest plant is now about 8ft tall, making this a shrub, not a tree. The literature say it grows from 3-15ft depending on the environs--on a high mountain it will be dwarfed. First leaves are wider at the top than at the base, but gradually later leaves are almost round witha short point at the tip. The green flowers are not showy, but as you can see below when the seeds burst out of the ovaries with their downy hairs, they are impressive.

USES: as an ornamental shrub for small gardens, coppice or clip to keep it smaller.



Small green leaves that are wider toward the tip than the base (obovate).

left and above: Our original plant of S. myrsinifolia green in the nursery. Unpruned in 6 years.

Perhaps the same selection in the Arboretum of the Ottawa Experiment Farm, Canada.

As the leaves mature they get rounder. At the base of the leaf petioles are small stipules.

Ours is a female selection with green catkins that elongate as they mature.

Fluffy seed carriers are a feature of all Willows. If you look closely at the fluff you can see tiny dots that are the actual seeds. They aren't viable for very long and need a damp place in sun to germinate--that's why they produce so many seeds.  Photo courtesy of Hermann Schachner WIKIMEDIA

Typical foliage for this selection; matte green on the upper surface and waxy blue-green on the undersides. Small stipules at the base of the leaf petioles.

Stems red at first, darkens with age. The side away from the sun remains green, then runs somewhat darker. Tiny red buds in the leaf axils are next years flowers.

Three bushes in the Montreal Botanic Garden. About 7ft high and 8-10 ft wide.


of Michael Dodge