What is a weeping willow tree

The weeping willow

Symbol of death and young life

Reading time: 3 min

In autumn 2015 by Dr. Wilhelm Mair

This article appeared 6 years ago in the Meraner Stadtanzeiger and may no longer be entirely up-to-date

The weeping willow is a symbol of mourning because of the branches hanging down, which is why it is very often found near graves and cemeteries. For the ancient Greeks and centuries earlier in China, the tree also symbolized young life and birth. Other tree species in which the branches hang vertically or diagonally downward are e.g. beech, birch, ash, Japanese pagoda, elm and cypress.

From the large number of species, hybrids and cultivated varieties, we choose two willows with idiosyncratic growth, the weeping willow and the corkscrew willow.

From South East Asia originating Real weeping willow (Salix babylonica L.), too Babylonian weeping willow called, was brought to Europe around 1730, where the frost-sensitive Wood in warmer areas of western and southern Europe was planted as an ornamental tree. The tree, which is rare here, can reach a height of around 10 m and has widely spreading branches, from which the thin branches hang down long. The bark of the Branches is greenish, never yellow and on the sunlit side somewhat reddened. The not hairyleaves are lanceolate and long, pointed, finely serrated, deep green on top, gray-green on the bottom.

With the name (Yellow) Hanging weeping willow and Gold willow varieties of the White willow (Salix alba, Merano city gazette No. 05 of March 5, 2015). Salix alba L. ´tristis´ is one of the most commonly planted varieties. It is up to 20 m tall, fast-growing, frost hardy tree with widely spreading branches and towering, yellow colored branches. The leaves, which emerge early, are bright yellow-green and finely hairy when they shoot, later pale green and blue-green underneath; they turn yellow before the frost and then turn gray.

Is from the crossing of Salix alba ´tristis´ with Salix babylonica Salix x sepulcralis Simonk. emerged whose variety ´chrysocoma´ with the very thin, golden branches is particularly eye-catching in winter. The narrow-lanceolate leaves remain green in autumn until frost and then gradually fall off. In winter, the "tangled braids" on the branches are noticeable; these are compressed shoots caused by gall mites.

Because both hybrids are very similar, some authors consider them to be a single species. The weeping willow is also a good example of how characteristics can be transferred to plants through crossing (spontaneous in nature and directed in a greenhouse) and often make an unambiguous determination difficult. The specified distinguishing features are mentioned by well-known experts in tree science and horticulture (Gerd Krüssmann, Andreas Bärtels).

Continue reading?

You have not consented to the use of cookies. Of course that's fine. Please understand, however, that we are dependent on the - no matter how meager - advertising income in order to keep the website running. If you want to see the full content, you can agree to the extended use of cookies and thus the advertisements here and thus enable us to show advertisements from third parties. Thanks.