The most popular and beautiful of the Willow trees is the Babylonian Willow (Salix babylonica) or Weeping
Willow. It is a native of extra-tropical Asia from China and Japan to the banks of the Euphrates, Armenia, Egypt
and North Africa. Also called Crack Willows, because the twigs and branches are brittle at the joints, they belong
to the genus known as Vitisalix which is characterized by producing the flowers and leaves at the same time, and by
their leaves being rolled like a scroll of paper in the bud.
The Weeping Willow grows best when its roots have a good water supply which is why they are often found beside
ponds, lakes and rivers. Open spaces are the best place for them to grow because if they are too close to a house,
they may block or break drainage pipes in their search for water. However, they are good for draining soil in a
marshy place. They are fast-growing trees and can be sprouted easily from cuttings and even fairly large branches
stuck in soggy ground. This is the way they have been reproduced in the past, because the yellow-green flowers that
come in May never produce seeds. Even though they like watery places, they will grow in all kinds of soils and have
been able to withstand drought.
With its dramatic appearance and graceful branches and leaves sweeping the ground it is a good tree to add
beauty and value to a garden. They grow up to 10 feet a year and have golden leaves in the early spring which turn
green as they mature and turn yellow in the autumn. Because of their brittle stems they often drop large and small
branches. This wood can be used to make charcoal or paper pulp and the bark has medicinal value to reduce fever,
but the Weeping Willow if first and foremost an ornamental tree.
The Weeping Willow has been considered mournful for centuries and is commonly planted in cemeteries in Turkey
and China. During ancient times Willow wood was used for funeral torches and it is considered to have foretold
Alexander the Great’s early death, because his crown was brushed off his head by a Weeping Willow when he was
crossing the Euphrates. In Elizabethan times it was the main symbol of forsaken love. In modern times it has been
the symbol of tears for many classical poets in Western Europe.
On our site, you will find many informative articles to answer all your questions about weeping willow trees and
help you make a better decision when it comes time to choose yours.