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JPR Environmental
The Malthouse
GL10 3DL

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living willow structures

Salix viminalis - Osier

Here are two pictures of Salix viminalis, Osier showing the growth to July.

Salix viminalis half.jpg (48105 bytes)

Picture of Salix viminalis

Salix viminalis closeup half.jpg (19685 bytes)

Close up picture of Salix viminalis

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.


Salix viminalis is a tall shrub or small tree which usually grows to between 3 and 6 metres in height. Its erect or suberect branches usually form a rather narrow, truncate or rounded crown. The bark is greyish-brown and fissured and twigs are long and straight, very tough and flexible and at first ashy-pubescent becoming smooth and a lustrous yellowish-brown later.

Osier leaves are linear or narrowly linear-lanceolate, between 10-15cm long and 0.5-1.5cm wide, and are dull green and thinly puberulous above and silvery below.

Catkins appear before the leaves in late February, March or early April and are generally crowded towards the tips of twigs. They are yellow, between 1.5-3cm long and 0.5-1cm wide and are densely flowered.


Salix viminalis can be easily identified in winter because of its early flowering at a time when the landscape is otherwise devoid of colour. Osier is common everywhere in Britain and Ireland but seldom seen except at low altitudes. It is one of the least variable of willows but will hybridize with other willows. The hybrid with Salix triandra provides a link between the willows of the Salix fragilis group and the Sallows.

Back to Willow Tree Varieties

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