Salix reinii

reinii = after Johannes Justus Rein, botanist/collector 1835-1918

Miyama-yanagi (Japanese), Rein’s Willow

This Japanese species is variable in size depending on elevation; it grows to 10ft at low elevations and less than 2ft high on the mountains including Mt Fuji, Hokkaido, Honshu and the southern Kuril Islands. It grows naturally in sunny locations with gravelly, nutrient-poor soils. In our nursery it is 6-7ft after three years and is growing in a rich moist clay-based loam. This species would appear more ‘natural’ in a rock garden with a lean soil mix. Reinii has very attractive foliage that is dark green above and powdery white below with a wavy edge to the leaves. Deer have never appeared to have dined on this species. Ours are male plants with 2in long, attractive and abundant bright yellow catkins. The Chicago Botanic Garden kindly shared cuttings with me. Hardy to Zone 3.

USES: a great garden plant in a border, on its own or rock garden; even a large container.



Above and below: Salix reinii in its natural habitat in Japan, all three are females.

photos courtesy of 

S. reinii in its natural habitat below Mt Fuji in Japan, their largest volcano and most photographed!

photo courtesy of

Below are plants in the nursery that are growing much more vigorously in our clay-loam soil!

Here is the foliage of Rein's Willow in the nursery and looks similar to camellia leaves in mid-summer.

Below are photos shot in the nursery in 2013 when it flowered for the first time.

Below are colorful male catkins appearing with young leaves.

Male catkins that appear on short growths at the same time leaves appear.

Lovely large leaves of Salix reinii, with bright red petioles and long thin stipules.

The undersides of the leaves are glaucous (blue-gray) with a waxy coat and prominent veins.

Overwintering flower buds in September (left) and October (right).

In September the leaves and stipules are still attached.

The flat buds are similar to Salix alba, not fat and round like Salix caprea.

This is one of the many distinguishing features that taxonomists use to identify willows.

male catkins

female catkins

A low bush in a rocky outcrop covered in female catkins going to seed.


of Michael Dodge