Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa'

Tortured Willow

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Tree to 14 m or more high with a short single trunk, bark pale grey-brown, shallowly fissured with age; upper branches, twigs and shoots strongly weeping, strongly contorted-flexuose; twigs green to dark greenish-brown, at first densely villous, soon glabrous and lustrous; buds at first villous, soon glabrous and lustrous. Leaves lanceolate, 8–13 cm long, 1–2.5 cm wide, strongly contorted, finally glabrous, deep green and lustrous above, glaucescent or glaucous below; apex long-acuminate; base more or less cuneate; margins shortly and regularly toothed; stipules caducous, auriculate-acuminate, to 12 mm long, glandular-toothed and with a scattering of glands over upper surfaces, strongly twisted. Female plants only known; catkins c. cylindric, 1–2 cm long, dense-flowered, erect or spreading on short leafy lateral shoots, shortly pedunculate; catkin-scales, 2–2.5 mm long, pale yellow-green; ovary sessile, flask-shaped, shorter than catkin-scales; catkins lengthening slightly and ovaries developing to release aborted seed. Flowers Aug.–Oct.

*VVP. Also naturalised WA, SA, NSW, ACT, Tas. A garden cultivar of a species indigenous in China. A garden cultivar of a species indigenous in China. Widely cultivated for ornament; sparingly naturalized vegetatively in Victoria (e.g. Ballarat, Merri Creek, Northcote, Tambo River) but becoming common around Albury (New South Wales) on the banks of the Murray River and probably also nearby in Victoria. Overseas it hybridizes with other willows (e.g. S. alba, S. ×sepulcralis); hybrids are likely to appear in Victoria where male subgenus Salix taxa occur.

The non-tortuose form of Salix matsudana has been hybridized with S. alba in New Zealand to produce 9 named hybrids of both sexes (‘New Zealand Hybrid Willow’). Many are now widely cultivated in Victoria and one has naturalized vegetatively at Ararat. These hybrids are seeding prolifically in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory rivers (Cremer 1994).

Created by: Andre Messina, 2015-08-10
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 matsudana 'Tortuosa' in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa' in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised