Kinds of Willow Trees

Willows, part of the Salicaceae family, are deciduous trees which come in various types, ranging in heights from 12 feet up to 100 feet. Willow trees typically prefer moist but well-draining soil, and many willow species are considered fast growing. The branches of some kinds of willow trees grow into long weeping branches or twisted branches.

White Willow

White willow trees, or Salix alba, are native to parts of Europe and grow best in USDA hardiness Zones 2 to 8. This willow tree often grows to a mature height ranging from 70 to 100 feet tall, with wide canopies and trunks up to 4 feet in diameter. The branches on the white willow grow out and upward from the trunk, producing a wide, open tree crown. According to the Ohio State University, the branches are typically "pendulous but not as strongly pendulous as the weeping willow."

Weeping Willow

Weeping willow trees, or Salix babylonica, originated in China and are probably best known for the very long pendulous branches that often reach to the ground from the open crown. This kind of willow tree grows best in USDA hardiness Zones 6 to 8 and can reach heights ranging from 30 to 40 feet tall with spreads up to 35 feet wide. Weeping willows prefer locations near water and can flourish in a wide array of soil types.

Corkscrew Willow

Corkscrew willow (Salix matsudana "Tortuosa') is also known as Pekin willow or Hankow willow. This kind of willow tree is not native to North America, but grows well in USDA hardiness Zones 4B through 8A. The branches extend nearly parallel to the trunk and then arc back horizontally, which forms into "contorted and twisted branches and twigs," according to the University of Florida. The mature size of the corkscrew willow is 25 to 30 feet tall, with canopies up to 20 feet in diameter.

Keywords: Salicaceae family, White willow trees, Weeping Willow, Corkscrew willow

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Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.