Salix babylonica var. pekinensis 'Tortuosa'

Contorted willow

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous tree

Flower colour



Colourful bark, Flowers



Skill level


photo by Sarah Cuttle, copyright GAP Photos (27055)

Plant details

The Babylon weeping willow is a large tree, only recommended for big, open areas away from buildings, and beside large ponds. Its contorted form, S. var. pekinensis 'Tortuosa', is smaller but still a fast grower, and makes a curious feature where space is more limited. Sometimes called the dragon's claw willow, it has a short trunk and slender, upright stems that soon begin to curl into gentle arcs. The twigs are more noticeably twisted, some of them weeping, and the leaves are contorted as well. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it their prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Saliaceae

Genus: Salix

Species: babylonica

Cultivar: var. pekinensis 'Tortuosa

Plant type: Deciduous tree

Flower colour: Yellow

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Colourful bark, Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 1500cm

Spread: 800cm

Time to take cuttings: December to February

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