White willow

White Willow

©Brian Eversham

White Willow

©Brian Eversham

White willow

Scientific name: Salix alba
So-named for the silvery-white appearance of its leaves, the White willow can be seen along riverbanks, around lakes and in wet woodlands. Like other willows, it produces catkins in spring.

Species information


Height: 20-25m

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The White willow is a large, fast-growing willow tree found along riverbanks, around lakes and in wet woodland. Its flowers appear in spring and its male catkins are long and yellow; male and female flowers grow on separate trees.
Like many of our native trees, it provides nectar for bees, food for caterpillars and nesting sites for birds.

How to identify

The White willow can appear silvery-white due to the colour of the undersides of its silky, narrow leaves. It has upswept branches and often leans. It can be distinguished from Crack willow by its shorter leaves with hairy undersides.



Did you know?

The Cricket-bat willow, from which cricket bats are traditionally made, is a cultivated variety of the White Willow.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.