Hybrid Crack-willow - Salix x fragilis

    Alternative names
    Crack-willow, Salix fragilis, Salix x rubens and Salix alba x euxina = S. x fragilis

    A robust tree, usually reaching 10 to15 metres high, its bark greyish and deeply fissured. Twigs soon glabrous and rather lustrous olive brown, brittle at the point of attachment to the branch. Mature leaves are lanceolate, 9 to 15 cm long and 1.5 to 3 cm wide, dark shining green above, greyish beneath, margins coarsely and unevenly serrate. Catkins appear with the leaves, terminal on short leafy shoots. Male catkins cylindrical 4 to 6 cm long and 1 to 1.3 cm wide, rather dense flowered, yellow. The female catkins are green. Seeds wind blow, surrounded by a tuft of woolly hairs.

    Identification difficulty

    Damp places, water margins and the edges of marsh areas.

    When to see it

    Catkins April and May.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Common in most of Britain as far North as Southern Scotland.

    VC55 Status

    Common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 536 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map