T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Salix eleagnos (Bitter willow)

Kingdom:   Plantae
(unranked):        Angiosperms
(unranked):        Eudicots
(unranked):        Rosids
Order:       Malpighiales
Family:      Salicaceae
Tribe:        Saliceae
Genus:      Salix
Species:     Salix eleagnos
Binomial name:  Salix eleagnos
Common names: Bitter willow, Olive willow, Hoary willow, Rosemary willow, Elaeagnus willow

Salix elaeagnos is a large deciduous shrub or small tree, up to 6 m high, dense and shrubby. It is native to Europe-W Russia, SW Asia and the Middle East.
In New Zealand is has become a pest plant often found growing on riverbanks, lakesides, drainage canals and wet places adjacent to, or in forest remnants. It will invade communities dominated by native plant species. When the branches are lying down they will root at the nodes. The plants brittle and easily broken shoots grow extremely easily. Salix elaeagnos will grow up to 3 m high.
The very long and narrow alternate leaves are up to 20 cm long. They are a dark shining green with an underside that is covered in white tomentum. The leaves turn yellow in autumn before dropping.
In spring male and female flowers appear as catkins on different trees before the new leaves appear. The female green catkins are 3–6 cm long. The shorter male catkins have yellow anthers.

Salix eleagnos growing wild roadside east of Taihape at 700 masl.










Male catkins late August