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Salix babylonica var. pekinensis 'Tortuosa' (f)
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

dragon's claw willow

A fast-growing medium-sized deciduous tree of upright habit, with narrow, twisted leaves glaucous beneath. Branches and shoots are strongly contorted. Insignificant yellowish catkins

Other common names
corkscrew willow
Synonyms
Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa'

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Size
Ultimate height
Higher than 12 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
4–8 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Yellow Green Grey Silver
Summer Green Grey Silver
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or East–facing or North–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Salicaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Columnar upright
Genus

Salix are deciduous shrubs and trees of diverse habit, with simple leaves and tiny flowers in catkins, male and female usually on separate plants. Some are valued for their brightly coloured winter shoots, others for their foliage or showy male catkins

Name status

Accepted

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in moderately fertile deep soil in full sun. Very fast growing

Propagation

Propagate by softwood cuttings in early summer or hardwood cuttings in winter

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Architectural
  • Wildlife gardens
Pruning

Pruning group 1. Suitable for hard pruning to rejuvenate or pollarding

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids, caterpillars, leaf beetles, sawflies, willow scale

Diseases

May be susceptible to willow anthracnose, scab, canker, honey fungus and rust

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