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UK Nature > Trees > Salix babylonica
Scientific Name: Salix babylonica
Common Name: Weeping Willow
Salix babylonica, more commonly known as Weeping Willow, is a medium to large-sized deciduous tree, growing up to 20–25m tall. It grows rapidly, but has a short lifespan, between 40 and 75 years.
The shoots are yellowish-brown, with small buds. The leaves are alternate and spirally arranged, narrow, light green, 4–16 cm long and 0.5–2 cm broad, with finely serrate margins and long acuminate tips; they turn a gold-yellow in autumn. The flowers are arranged in catkins produced early in the spring; it is dioecious, with the male and female catkins on separate trees.
Early Chinese cultivar selections include the original weeping willow, Salix babylonica 'Pendula', in which the branches and twigs are strongly pendulous, which was presumably spread along ancient trade routes. These distinctive trees were subsequently introduced into England from Aleppo in northern Syria in the early 18th century, and have rapidly become naturalised, growing well along rivers and in parks.
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