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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa' - Corkscrew Willow

I love contorted trees, more so in the winter than summer. The branching habits and potentially the color of the twigs are a welcome sight in the winter, if you happen to live where there is one.



This willow produces a rounded oval shaped deciduous tree to 30'. Grows well as a hedge when copiced and can be used as a cut floral product. Fast growing and somewhat weak wooded. Usually lots of dead wood can be found in the canopy.



The deciduous leaves are alternate, simple, lanceolate shaped, 2-4" and here is the key, twisted or controted. Lightly serrated margins and light green color.



Stems are controted when young, becoming "straight" with age. Greenish color. I have seen lots of willows and poplars with grafted trunks as seen below. You can see the branches straighten out eventually.



Flowers are small green catkins. Produced pretty early in the season, and not really obvious like a pussy willow.

Fruit are small capsules releasing cottony seeds. (A member of the cotton woods)



Fall color is pretty limited to dull green.



Related plant includes 'Golden Curls' with yellow stems and the same contorted growth.

Misidentification:
Other contorted willows. There are several actually. As mentioned above there is a bright yellow stemmed cultivar called 'Golden Curls' with very gold stems, especially in winter.

Looks like S. babylonica without a weeping habit.

Location:
Aptos
468 Baltusrol
RDM Blvd at Sumner Dr.

Capitola
141 Cortez St.

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