Salix babylonica L.

Weeping Willow

Sp. Pl. 1017 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Spreading tree to c. 30 m high, trunk short, crown often wider than high, bark grey-brown, ultimately moderately fissured on trunk and larger branches; upper branches, twigs and shoots very long-pendulous, almost vertical, often touching the ground; twigs green or brownish-green, slender, initially pubescent, soon glabrous, lustrous; buds at first pubescent, soon glabrous, brown, lustrous. Leaves narrow-lanceolate, 5–18 cm long, 1–2.5 cm wide, soon more or less glabrous, deep green and lustrous above, glaucescent or glaucous below; apex very long-acuminate; base cuneate; margins shallowly toothed, teeth non-glandular to 0.8 mm long; stipules caducous, auriculate-acuminate, to 10 mm long, margins distantly glandular-toothed, a few sessile glands around base of upper surface. Female plants only known; catkins c. cylindric, curved or straight 0.6–2.8 cm long, erect or spreading on short leafy lateral shoots; peduncle very short, 1–3 mm long; catkin-scales c. 2 mm long, pale yellow-green; ovary sessile, flask-shaped, c. equal with catkin-scale, glabrous. Catkins lengthening slightly and ovaries developing to release aborted seed. Flowers Aug.–Oct.

*CVU, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *HNF, *HSF, *MuF, *NIS, *VRiv, *VVP. Also naturalised WA, SA, Qld, NSW, ACT, Tas. Indigenous in China. Naturalised in New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, North and South America. Very widely cultivated for ornament.

Naturalized vegetatively, as only female plants are present; male plants apparently occur in Tibet and India. Many Australian records of this species are referable to Salix ×sepulcralis and S. ×pendulina from which it is distinguished by few pale petiolar glands; very short catkins (female only) which are almost sessile or shortly pedunculate, green or green-brown twigs, a very heavy crown of foliage with very long, c. vertical curtains of branches in mature trees and non-glandular teeth on the leaf margins.

It occurs with male Salix ×sepulcralis and other taxa in subgenus Salix in many locations; seed production and additional hybrids are expected.

Source: Carr, G.W. (1996). Salix. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-03-20
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Malpighiales
family Salicaceae
genus Salix
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Salix babylonica in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Salix babylonica in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Glenelg Plain present introduced
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present introduced
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present introduced
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present introduced
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory