About The Variety
Salix viminalis is native to Europe. It is a vigourous and fast growing shrub that thrives on wet soils and can often be found lining the banks of streams or rivers.
Appearance: Long glossy green leaves with a silvery underside that turn yellow and fall in the autumn to reveal the bright yellow-green stems. In late winter to early spring the appearance of catkins occurs, these are attractive looking fluffy grey protrusions that make the stems a popular choice in floristry (often called Pussy Willow due to the furry nature of the catkins)
Salix viminalis is a tough plant and thrives in conditions where others may not. It is tolerant of wet and boggy sites and of chalk soils. It will grow on coastal areas and lives well with exposure. It is also a choice for contaminated sites.
Uses: As a tree or shrub in itself it can be used as a windbreak or planted in boggy sites or by riversides. It is also used to help clean up contaminated or old industrial sites as it can absorb heavy metals from the soil.
Commercially it is now used for bio-fuel due to its extraordinary growth rate. The dried stems (withies) are also widely used in the craft world for weaving and basket making and for such things as fences, bedding borders and for weaved furniture.
Recently a new use has been found for willow and it has started to be used to create living structures. These tunnels, arches, domes and screening fences are becoming ever more popular in domestic and public gardens as well as community projects and schools.