Purple Willow - Salix purpurea


    A spreading to erect shrub varying in height from 1.5 to 5 metres. Bark reveals yellow beneath when peeled. Twigs sometimes tinged purple, but not always. Leaves often opposite or sub opposite, linear-oblong, pointed, slightly bluish green, untoothed. Catkins appear before the leaves, 2 to 4 cm reddish or purple tinged, often opposite, and often curved.

    Identification difficulty

    Wet ground, marsh areas, wet ditch banks, water margins.

    When to see it

    Catkins March and April (slightly later further north).

    Life History


    UK Status

    Widespread throughout Britain and fairly frequent in some areas, particularly eastern England.

    VC55 Status

    May be nearly scarce in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 67 of the 617 tetrads.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

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

    UK Map