Origin: Hybrid from Europe
Hybrid crack willow is a medium-sized, often multi-stemmed tree with erect or drooping branches.Read more about Tree, Bark, Twigs
Leaves are long and narrow with tapered tips and fine teeth on the edge.Read more about Leaves
Flowers are tiny, clustered in catkins that emerge with the leaves.Read more about Flowers
Fruits are green capsules, clustered in catkins.Read more about Fruit
Hybrid crack willow is a medium-sized tree to 20m (65'), often multi-stemmed, with erect or drooping branches.
New shoots sprout readily to replace broken or cut branches, even when a branch is severed from the trunk.
Trees are sometimes pollarded (top branches cut off) to control upward tree growth or create a more compact crown.
Capsules open to release the seeds, each of which is equipped with a tuft of hair for wind dispersal.
Hybrid origin and distribution
Hybrid crack willow is a cross between white willow (Salix alba) and crack willow (Salix euxina, formerly Salix fragilis), both native to Europe. The hybrid originated in central Europe, has been widely cultivated and is planted extensively throughout North America. It easily becomes naturalized in moist environments, like stream banks and shorelines, where broken branches have settled and put down roots.
Derivation of names
The genus name Salix is the classical Latin name for the willows. The species name, fragilis, is Latin for fragile, and refers to the twigs and branches which are easily broken. The x in the Latin name indicates that this is a hybrid.
Wildlife valueThe inner bark of hybid crack willows (like that of all willows) is a favorite food of beavers. Cavities created when branches break off provide shelter and nesting sites for many species of mammals and birds.
Hybrid crack willow's place in Toronto's urban forest
Hybrid crack willow is often planted in Toronto's parks and frequently becomes naturalized.
Landscape value and potential for home planting
This is a large tree with brittle branches that is not recommended for home planting.
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