Purple wicker (Salix eleagnos)

The Salix eleagnos is a species of willow that grows on the stone-covered banks of rivers, in ravines and valleys that are humid, especially in soils that are limestone. The purple wicker can live between 200 and 1500 meters high, although in Sierra Nevada they have been found at about 2000 meters of altitude.

It is a tree that can measure up to six meters high, and has quite abundant branches and a lot of flexibility that on certain occasions can grow up to 12 meters high. The branches of this plant are brown, brown with shades of yellow, brown with shades of gray, or they can also be quite dark red and are usually quite cracked in older specimens.

Salix eleagnos characteristics

This is a tree that has simple leaves arranged alternately, deciduous and that measure from 2 to 16 centimeters in length by 3 to 10 millimeters in width.

They have a shape that is linear or they can also be lanceolate leaves, with tips that are sharp and with a base that has a shape similar to a wedge, with a margin that is finely closed, jumbled on the underside and glandular. When the leaves are mature, they have a dark green color on the upper part and have a dense whitish or gray hair on the underside.

Its flowers have their birth in rather long filaments that are called catkins. Its fruits have the shape of a capsule that, when ripe, opens and then releases the seeds that are wrapped in a kind of cottony fabric that has the ability to disperse with the wind.


The perfect place to plant a purple wicker are areas that have swampy waters, ideally being the land fairly close to a pond, a lake or near any body of water. These places provide the plant with the guarantee that it will not suffer problems from lack of humidity. When planting this tree it is important to consider the system that has its root, in general, what is the root system is closed. It can be sown bare-rooted during the first days of spring before germination or in the last days of fall after the leaves have fallen.


When the tree is recently planted it is important to water it, since it needs to be constantly humid. For this it is important to water the plant once a week in the morning and then at night. When the tree has grown qualitatively, it is necessary to cover the soil with a little peat, and we will put a layer that will be about five to seven centimeters.

Plagues and diseases

Although this is an unpretentious tree, it does not mean that it can be left unattended in the face of any problem. The pests that most frequently attack this type of tree are generally the aphids, the flower flies and the willow moth. The elimination of tracks is essential, as these can get to bite the leaves leaving the attractive little tree for decoration. On the other hand, it is important to be attentive to the spring months, since this is the time when flower flies usually appear.


For thousands of years the branches of this tree have been used for basket weaving, and even today this is a common practice that is still carried out. On the other hand, the tincture that is obtained from the bark when it is crushed can be used as a treatment for fever and cold symptoms. The purple wicker is a tree that landscapers use very frequently to decorate parks and gardens, so it is common that it is considered one of the most suitable trees to plant in urban parks.

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