Plants grown in northern gardens: Woolly Willow

Woolly Willow (Salix lanata) is an evergreen creeping or upright woody plant with strong branches and thick annual shoots. In Iceland, Woolly Willow may reach 2m in cultivation. The leaves are broad, pointed and covered with greyish hair. The catkins are thick and bright yellow.

Woolly willow grows well in gardens where it may be grown as a hedge. Woolly willow is tolerant of arid conditions whether in gardens or in the wild. Woolly willow is a dominant species of many heaths and sandy habitats in Iceland and its sand-binding properties are much praised.

The species is usually low-growing or absent if grazing animals are present, while recovering rapidly following protection of land. Woolly Willow is common at northern latitudes and forms scrublands in Iceland, northern Scandinavia and parts of Siberia. This species is also a rare native of Scotland.

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