Salix x 'The Hague'
Salix x erdingeri (caprea x daphnoides) X Salix gracilistyla
The Hague Willow
This was thought to be the female version of Salix x leucopithecia. However, recent information has caused this hybrid to be renamed. (For the details: see at the bottom of this page!
It is an upright shrub/small tree (similar to one of its parents: Salix daphnoides). It has thick, gray-brown, densely pubescent branches to 20ft. This female hybrid has huge, showy catkins that are produced in masses before the leaves in March-April and are a good early nectar supplier for bees. Leaves are bright green above and glaucous beneath. This is a cross between Asian species; hybridized by S.G.A. Doorenbos in The Hague (den Haag), Netherlands. For more details, go to the bottom of this page.
Coppiced, this hybrid makes long rods suitable for making living willow structures and coarse basketry. Hardy to USDA Zone 4.
pubescent = downy, coated with dense, soft hairs
glaucous = bluish gray
Young female catkins on The Hague Willow. Mid-April
The yellow-green 'dots' on the catkins (at left) are the stigmas waiting for bees to bring pollen.
Red 'dots' on the older catkin at right. Late-April.
entice the bees with the sweet smell of nectar!
Young downy foliage and stems that, like ducklings, soon lose their down! Mid-August.
Wonderful bright red foliage of the new growth and reticulate (crinkly) leaves in maturity.
An uncoppiced plant smothered in pussy willows!
Ripe female catkins being visited by tiny wasps or flies for the nectar. Mid-April.
Very young growth with near white stems and a perfect leaf with prominent white central vein!
Undersides of the leaves are glaucous blue and have small white hairs to small to see with the naked eye.
In September the flowers buds develop in the axils of the leaves. Beside them are a pair of leafy stipules.
In a sunny location some flower buds will split open in October and out will pop the the hairs that protect the sensitive parts.
Gradually the bud scales lose their hairs during winter.
Catkins expanding in mid-April.
Pussy willows in early-April.
The little green dots in the fluff are the stigmas of the female flowers and will develop into the receptacles for pollen.
of Michael Dodge
Origin of Salix 'The Hague'
This was in an article written by J. Belder: ''SGA Doorenbos, Leven en Werk''. (Translation of 'Leven en Werk' = Life and Work)
(Mr. Doorenbos was the breeder of Salix 'The Hague'.) Here is a translation of the article about 'The Hague':
''During the general meeting of the Dutch Dendrological Society in Nijkerk on March 1, 1980, L.K.J. Ilsink from Zeist, showed the meeting a number of branches of a Salix obtained by Doorenbos, a hybrid between Salix x erdingeri and Salix gracilistyla, which were covered with catkins up to the ends of the branches. The Darthuizer Nurseries in Leersum and the company P.G. Zwijnenburg in Boskoop has cultivated this willow, both under the name Salix x hagensis, a name that is not validly published. In the latest edition of W.J. Bean: "Trees & Shrubs, hardy in the British Isles", this willow has been described as a cultivar. The correct name is now: Salix 'The Hague'. According to a statement from the maker, in the first phase Salix gracilistyla was used as pollen parent and crossed with S. x erdingeri as mother-plant. Work continued with the best seedlings. In 1953, the Wageningen Botanical Gardens received plants of this F2 hybrid under the name Salix gracilistyla x Salix x erdingeri. No valid hybrid name is known for such a cross. So we stick to Salix 'The Hague'. During a visit to Boskoop (Proefstation, firm C. Esveld and firm P.G. Zwijnenburg) on September 11, 1973, Doorenbos once again provided the same information about the parents of his willow, as he did in 1953 at the Botanical Gardens in Wageningen. Salix 'The Hague' probably was obtained before the second world war.''
I am very grateful to Ton Rulkens who sent me this information:
AJH (Ton) Rulkens