Salix 'Pink Delight'

(‘Americana’ x eleagnos f. angustifolia)

Pink Delight Willow

This male hybrid willow came to us from the generous folk at the Chicago Botanic Garden who received it from Czechoslovakia; in return I gave CBG cuttings of willows they didn't have. It looks like an enhanced version of the Rosemary Willow and is more vigorous; it has long narrow leaves and straight reddish brown stems. The 'Americana' parent provides the vigour plus the long straight red stems and reddish tips to the new growth. The abundant pink flower buds open in late April in Vermont and the anthers open in early May. The foliage is very attractive and has a reddish cast at first, as does 'Americana' Hardy to Zone 4.

USES: As a medium sized ornamental shrub; its slender, almost unbranched first-year growth makes this a useful willow for basketry and other objet d'art.



Young pink male catkins burst out of the bright red bud scales with distinguishing green stipules at the base of the flowers.

Orange anthers tip these colorful male catkins. Leaf buds popping above at top.

Clean green lanceolate leaves on reddish twigs. Young leaves are reddish too when they first appear.

The undersides of the leaves are glaucous, i.e. they have a waxy blue-gray covering. Stipules at the base of the leaf petioles are rather small.

This is a row of young vigorous plants in the nursery after being coppiced a few weeks earlier.

I think this hybrid has a bright future for basketry.

One of the plants in the Chicago Botanic Garden showing the vigorous dark red stems in late March

with male pussy willows popping out of their winter buds.

The base of the plant above showing the reaction of the plant to coppicing--strong, thick, vigorous stems.

We coppice our willows down to 1-2 inches then you don't get this hard branching pattern at the base.

Autumn show begins in late September with flower buds developing on red stems.

In late October the buds have enlarged;  both them and the stems have darkened.

Spring show begins in April.

Stems have lost most of their fur and a tip of a catkin appears on the lowest flower.

Catkin is now half out of the bud scales!

Easy to see why we changed the name to 'Pink Delight--it's simply that.

Mid-late April

These pink sweeties are a delight to bring spring indoors!


of Michael Dodge