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Violet Willow

Salix daphnoides

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Salicaceae (Willow)
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 metres tall
Gardens, parks, riverbanks, riversides, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Silver, no petals
Silvery catkins, up to 4cm long. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit is its seed. The seeds ripen in May and June.
The leaves are oblong to narrow, slender, pointed and have saw-toothed margins. They are dark green above and dull green below, turning golden yellow in autumn. The leaves measure a maximum of 12cm long (5 inches) and 2 or 3cm wide (about 1 inch). Violet Willow is named after the colour of its stems. The stems are violet purple. Violet Willow is usually seen as a tree which has been planted in parks but can occasionally be found growing wild in the UK.
Other Names:
Daphne Willow, European Violet Willow.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Salix daphnoides, also known as Violet Willow or Daphne Willow, is a species of willow tree that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a medium-sized tree that can grow up to 15 meters tall. The tree is known for its reddish-brown bark, which can be smooth or slightly furrowed, and its long, narrow leaves. The bark of the tree contains salicin, which is used in the production of aspirin. Violet willow is also used in traditional medicine for various ailments, including fever, pain, and inflammation. It is also a popular ornamental tree, grown for its attractive bark and spring foliage. It is often used in wetland restoration projects and as a riparian buffer.


Violet Willow (Salix daphnoides) is a deciduous shrub that is native to Europe and Asia. It is known for its vibrant purple stems and delicate, dark green leaves. This shrub is an excellent choice for adding visual interest to gardens and landscapes, and it is also a great option for erosion control and wildlife habitats.

Violet Willow is a fast-growing shrub, reaching up to 10 feet tall and wide. It can grow in a wide range of soil types, including wet and marshy soils. This shrub is also tolerant of a variety of climates and can grow in both warm and cold regions.

One of the most striking features of Violet Willow is its beautiful purple stems, which turn a bright yellow in the fall. The leaves are lance-shaped and dark green, growing up to 4 inches long. In the spring, Violet Willow produces small, yellow catkins that provide an additional source of visual interest.

In addition to its ornamental qualities, Violet Willow is also a great option for erosion control. Its strong root system and quick growth make it an excellent choice for stabilizing soil and preventing erosion. Additionally, its tolerance for wet soils makes it a great option for areas that are prone to flooding.

Violet Willow is also a great choice for wildlife habitats. Its leaves provide food for many species of birds, and its catkins provide nectar for pollinators. This shrub is also a great choice for creating habitat for small mammals, such as squirrels and rabbits.

Violet Willow is an excellent choice for adding visual interest, erosion control, and wildlife habitats to gardens and landscapes. Its vibrant purple stems, delicate leaves, and yellow catkins make it a beautiful and functional addition to any outdoor space.

Violet Willow is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of garden styles, from traditional to modern. It is often used as a focal point in gardens or as a specimen plant in larger landscapes. Additionally, it can be used as a screen or hedge to provide privacy or to define a property line.

This shrub is also a great option for water gardens or bogs. Its tolerance for wet soils and its ability to grow in shallow water make it an ideal plant for these types of environments. Violet Willow provides a natural, yet stunning, look to water gardens, and its root system helps to reduce erosion and provide habitat for aquatic life.

When planting Violet Willow, it is important to choose a location that has good drainage. This shrub does not tolerate standing water, and it is essential to ensure that the soil does not become waterlogged. It is also important to provide adequate sunlight, as Violet Willow grows best in full sun to partial shade.

In terms of maintenance, Violet Willow is a relatively low-maintenance plant. It requires occasional pruning to maintain its shape and to remove any dead or damaged branches. Additionally, it is important to water it regularly during its first year of growth to establish a strong root system.

Overall, Violet Willow is a beautiful and versatile shrub that adds color, texture, and visual interest to any garden or landscape. Its ability to grow in a variety of soils, its tolerance for wet environments, and its low maintenance requirements make it an excellent choice for gardeners and landscapers alike.

Violet Willow is also known for its resistance to pests and diseases, making it a great choice for gardeners who want a low-maintenance plant. However, like any plant, it is still susceptible to some common problems. Some issues that can occur include leaf spot, rust, and scale insects. To prevent these problems, it is important to provide good air circulation, avoid overcrowding, and keep the shrub healthy by providing proper care.

Another aspect to consider is that Violet Willow is known to spread and can become invasive in certain regions. This is because it has a strong root system that allows it to spread quickly and easily. For this reason, it is important to plant Violet Willow in an area where it will not spread into natural areas or cause harm to other plants. Gardeners in regions where Violet Willow is considered invasive should be careful when planting it and should choose alternative plants that are not invasive.

In conclusion, Violet Willow is a beautiful and unique shrub that provides many benefits to gardens and landscapes. Its vibrant purple stems, delicate leaves, and yellow catkins make it a stunning focal point, while its ability to grow in wet soils, its resistance to pests and diseases, and its low-maintenance requirements make it an ideal choice for gardeners and landscapers. However, it is important to consider its potential to become invasive and to plant it in an appropriate location to avoid causing harm to other plants or the environment.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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