Willow (Salix babylonica)

This recognizable tree is often associated with our waterways and wetland gardens but actually originates in dry areas of Northern China. It is a very hardy deciduous tree which grows very quickly reaching 20–25m in height but has a relatively short lifespan of 40 to 75 years.

Weeping willow is recognisable by its long light green leaves (which are alternate and spirally arranged), on thin stems that hang like pendulous curtains to the ground. The small, narrow leaves appear in early spring so now is a great time to see them while other trees are only starting to bud.

One of the amazing things about willow is its ability to quickly regrow and regenerate. A new willow tree can be created by simply cutting a stem from an existing tree and pushing it into the ground. Even upside down!

Did you know that cricket bats and stumps are traditionally made from willow? Now you know why 'wicket' and 'wicker' sound so familiar…

Photo Credit: Aaron Matchett, The Hollow


Where to find it?

The most prominent weeping willow on the Connswater Community Greenway is down at the Hollow (off Abetta Parade). The Hollow and the Conn O’Neill Bridge have been a familiar sight there long before anyone had the idea for a Greenway and it was rightly protected during the recent construction. Hopefully it will be there for many years to come and continue to catch our eye in early spring.

Last week we asked people to send in their best photos of the Willow Tree. Thanks to Dave Caughey and Aaron Matchett for these fantastic photos. You can check out more photos of the tree on our Facebook page. 

Photo credit: Dave Caughey, The Hollow


Be Part of it..

If you are out and about head down to the Hollow and send us your pics and What’s Growing on the Greenway suggestions. Each week we will ask people to send in their photos of the latest plant we're featuring. The best ones will be featured on the blog with full credits. Keep an eye on our social media to find out what next weeks plant or tree is and get snapping!