Weeping Willow Tree – Salix babylonica
This majestic tree is a regular sight near bodies of water in parks and gardens in Europe and North America. So ubiquitous is the tree in these areas that people are sometimes surprised that it is native to China. Not only that, it’s just been grown in the west since the 18th century.
The weeping willow seems to have many origins. In one tale, it was the tree under which the Jews wept near the waters of Babylon. It turned into the tree weeping Niobe was turned into after her children were slaughtered, and the tree under Napoleon took comfort after his defeat.
Though this may all be apocryphal, what is true is that the weeping willow is almost too natural to grow. Sometimes, all a gardener needs to do is stick a twig into damp soil and watch it sprout. Botanists believe this is how the tree spread so quickly.
The Weeping Willow Tree grows up to 30 to 40 feet high with a spread of 35 feet. It not only proliferates but proliferates. It can grow up to 24 inches a year. It’s not fussy about soil and will even grow in a climate that’s dry and hot as long as there’s a permanent body of water nearby.
The Weeping Willow Tree’s beautiful weeping crown comprises narrow leaves from 3 to 6 inches long. They are hairless dark green above and paler below, with beautiful teeth at the edges. The weeping willow is a deciduous tree, and its flowers are borne on catkins that arrive in the middle of May. Male catkins are yellow, and female catkins are green. They are found on separate trees, and the fruits are small capsules that enclose the seeds. The bark is grayish and full of lovely furrows. The weeping willow thrives in hardiness zones 6 to 8 and prefers full sun to partial shade.