Salix purpurea ‘Dicky Meadows’

purpurea = purple

Dicky Meadows = Richard Meadows (see story below)

Purple Willow

A male selection of the purple willow from the UK. All purpurea varieties are too bitter to be eaten by deer so this makes them great for dense hedges and fedges to keep deer away from plants they will eat.

Here’s ‘Dicky Meadows’ described by the World of Willows Nursery in the UK:

We coppice ours every year and end up with 8-10ft rods and is not a low growing shrub! Hardy to Zone 3. Dried rod color: light green to gray

USES: Great for making living structures, as well as dried for basket making and other objet d’art.

About Dicky Meadows and 'Dicks'

'Dicky Meadows' was named after Richard Meadows, who worked for the Earl of Lathom in the early 1900's in Lancashire in the Northwest of England. Amongst his duties, Meadows made rough wicker baskets for distributing game to neighbours. While unwrapping plants from the Continent he noticed thin willow withies (rods) were holding the plants together. He rooted them and discovered they were the best rods he had ever seen. He propagated more and gave many away; they became known as 'Old Dick Meadows Willow' and 'Red Buds'. These selections became so popular among growers that some produced 100 tons of withies each year. Since then withies/rods became known as 'Dicks' in the North of England.

Thus: 'Black Dicks', 'Dark Dicks', Green Dicks', 'Lancashire Dicks',

'Leicestershire Dicks', 'Light Dicks' 'Old Dicks Meadows Willow' ('Dicks' for short), 'Welsh Dicks'.

adapted from the 1908 Kew Bulletin, Number 21-22, page 418



“This is one of the most popular basket willows. It is a wonderfully fine willow with very even rods which are slender and very flexible. It is also very attractive as a low growing shrub with yellow rods with red tips in winter. It is bright green when fresh and dries to a mid-brown. It grows around 4’ to 5’ in a year.

It is more versatile than many basket willows allowing its use for very fine work. This is one of our favourites for children to work with.”

Talk about vigorous! 'Dicky Meadows' produces masses of slender rods.

It's no wonder that the Brits like this one so much;

they should know, they've been doing it for hundreds of years!

'Dicky Meadows' in the nursery showing the number of rods per plant and lovely lacy foliage!

Here's a good look at the foliage and stems of 'Dicky Meadows'

It's one of the greenest of the purpureas with green leaves and stems.

Male flowers of 'Dicky Meadows' in tight catkins at left and full flower right and below!

Note the light brown coloring of the stems in late winter, great for basketry.


of Michael Dodge