Salix viminalis 'Bowles Hybrid'?

viminalis = of or belonging to osiers

after E.A. Bowles

Hybrid Osier Willow

I have had plants by this name for a number of years trying to find more information about it. We can't find a good description of this willow that was discovered by the famous English plantsman E.A. Bowles and no one seems to know its other parent. It is most likely that what we have is not this species, but a three-way cross between Salix viminalis, Salix aurita and Salix caprea (perhaps xsmithiana x aurita). It is certainly not the same as the aurita x viminalis hybrid as the leaves and habit are entirely different. The one comment I found on 'Bowles Hybrid' in that it has long leaves like Salix viminalis. Ours has 3-4in ovate leaves! What we do know is that it is one heck of a vigorous grower that produces the strongest, toughest, heaviest rods of any willow in our collection; it is also densely twiggy at the bottom of the rods, making it impenetrable. It tolerates heavy wet soils, exposed locations and even coastal salt-laden winds (as does Salix viminalis); but no willows survive submersion in salt water.

USES: A great ornamental tree where you want a dense, relatively upright tree that makes a fantastic windbreak because of it's vigour and dense growth. Also would make a dense hedge and as far as I know deer don't like it as I have never seen damage on it. Also it is the ultimate willow for coarse basketry, living willow structures and firewood!

ovate leaf = an egg-shaped leaf, broader end at the base

Growth habit of coppiced plants: young rods at left, dense side branching center, older young rods at right.

The tall, dark leaved plant in the background of this photo is what we received as 'Bowles Hybrid'.

It is a super-vigorous grower with thick stems and dense twiggy growth making it impenetrable by deer.

If you want a screen, windbreak or fence to discourage deer entering your property, this is for you!

In the right foreground is our 2017 introduction Salix daphnoides 'Red Rocket'

Above: female catkins in various stages of development.

From opening buds in mid-April, to stigmas starting to show,

full flower and fertilized ovaries in early May!

Mid-summer and the lush green leaves present a clean, green display. Adaxial sides of the leaves botanically.

Details of the undersides (abaxial) of the leaves in sun and shade.

A bumble bee gathering nectar on these  mature catkins.

New foliage is growing on last-year's growth, while the fertilized catkins are swelling. The ghost on the bottom left is catkins from another willow!


of Michael Dodge