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JPR Environmental
The Malthouse
GL10 3DL

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living willow structures

Salix pentandra - Bay Willow

Here are two pictures of Salix pentandra, Bay Willow, taken in June.

Bay Willow Salix pentandra

Picture of Salix pentandra

Bay Willow Salix pentandra

Picture of Salix pentandra

JPR Environmental is happy for you to download and copy these images for your own use should you want. However,  we would ask you to credit us as the source of the image.


A large willow shrub or small tree usually growing to 5-7m high but exceptionally known to reach 17m. Branches spread in mature specimens to form a broad rounded crown. The bark is fuscous or greyish and its twigs generally brown or reddish, glabrous and shining if varnished.

Bay willow leaves are in the main ovate-elliptic or ovate and are dark shining green above and paler below and obscurely veined.

Male and female catkins appear with the leaves in late May or June.

It is frequently said that the fragrance of the glandular leaves and catkins is similar to that of the true Bay, Laurus nobilis, though this is quite difficult to detect.


Salix pentandra is frequently found by streams and rivers and on wet ground at low altitudes in northern Britain. It is probably not indigenous south of Birmingham and is also not generally found in northern Scotland. It is also found frequently in certain locations in Northern Ireland but is rare and mostly planted in Eire.

Bay willow appeals to gardeners because of its attractive foliage and catkins and has therefore been extensively planted outside its natural area. The absence of female specimens in southern Britain is often a reliable indication of non-native status.

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