Skip to Content

44 Different Types of Willow Trees (Species and Attractions)

Read a great guide to the different types of willow trees, including their many names, origins, looks, and identifiers.

A weeping willow tree beside the lake

Willow trees are some of the most beautiful you’ll ever see but you might not even know you’re looking at one! When you hear the word “willow” I’m sure the first thought that comes to mind is a weeping willow tree. While this may be the popular choice, there are so many more!

For instance, I bet you had no idea there is a species of willow that is planted with the purpose of replenishing environments by attracting wildlife. Isn’t that amazing? They can be hard to keep in line due to the many different types of willow trees, their scientific names, as well as their nicknames. Now, you can read this great guide to the various types of willow trees! Learn what they are, where they’re from, and what to call them.

What Are the 31 Different Types of Willow Species?

The Weeping Willow

A weeping willow tree in bright green color
A weeping willow tree with abundant leaves in bright green color.

Scientific name: salix babylonica

When you hear the word ‘willow’, the first thought that comes to mind is more than likely the weeping willow tree. Big, grand, with weeping branches and leaves that create an oasis on the inside. This stunning tree is native to northern China and can grow up to 40 feet tall. When you add that to the winding branches that spread out as long as 10 or more feet from the trunk, you can really get an idea of how marvelous this willow tree is.

The Golden Weeping Willow

A willow tree type vivid yellow twigs
A willow tree type with a lovely weeping shape and vivid yellow twigs.

Scientific name: salix × sepulcralis ‘chrysocoma’

This variant of weeping willow trees can reach up to 50 to 75 feet tall and wide! If you’re looking to plant one, be sure you have a wide, abundant space for the tree to flourish. It really thrives in warm temperatures across the world, and the dreamy golden hue of the leaves is accentuated in areas where the sunset can reach them. Keep these things in mind if you’re interested in planting a weeping golden willow tree on your property!

The Purple Osier Willow

A purple osier willow is a rapidly native evergreen shrub with arching stems in a bushy form
A purple osier willow is a beautiful, rapidly native evergreen shrub with arching stems in a bushy form.

Scientific name: salix purpurea

This willow isn’t actually a tree – this is a willow shrub. When it’s kept trimmed, it can be shaped like in this picture and used for your beautiful yard landscaping. The purple osier willow name comes from the purple-ish brown stems of the plant, reaching around 3 to 9 feet in total height. It is native to Europe, as well as western Asia, and says it has both male and female catkins.

Catkins are the fluffy, caterpillar-like flower clusters you’ll see on many of the different willow species.

The White Willow

A large of willow with majestic leaves
A large species of willow with majestic leaves.

Scientific name: salix alba

The white willow is another form of weeping willow. Their leaves have a soft, white underside that gives the white willow its name. It’s a beautiful sight to see when the wind blows and you get the glimpses of that brighter color swaying with the breeze! The appearance of this willow is much similar to the typical weeping willow trees, aside from the unique tilt or lean at the crown of the tree. This gives the impression that the tree itself is getting ready to lay down, or possibly fall over.

Gray Willow

Gray willow with alternating leaves in brilliant green appearance and grey hairs underneath.
Gray willow with alternating leaves in brilliant green and lustrous appearance with soft grey hairs underneath.

Scientific name: salix cinerea

This willow species looks more like an oversized shrub or bush, if you take a good look at it. It can reach up to around 10 meters, roughly equivalent to 32 feet, but the foliage of its branches and leaves covers the entirety of the plant rather than branching away from the trunk. This particular willow tree is a great choice for someone looking to attract bees or other pollinators with its abundance of nectar.

Also known as:

Bebb Willow

Beaked Willow

Long Beaked Willow

Yellow Willow

A large brilliant yellow willow tree in full leaf
A large brilliant yellow willow tree in full leaf growth.

Scientific name: salix lutea

This particular willow prefers wet and moist areas for growth, amounting to 10-15 feet tall but still considered to be a shrub. It is actually native to parts of Canada and western North America. These can be found on riverbanks, meadows, or spots that receive a decent amount of water to keep the dirt damp. They bloom from the spring months of March to May but continue to grow throughout the summer.

Alaska Blue Willow

A clump of little willow trees for landscaping
A clump of little is willow trees arranged as a yard landscaping.

Scientific name: salix purpurea ‘Nana’

Closely related to salix purpurea, the purple osier willow tree, this deciduous willow tree grows from 8 to 10 feet tall. According to Oregon State University, the branches of this particular willow are an excellent material for weaving and making baskets. Willow wood baskets are a common and popular choice among basket lovers because of the durability.

Also known as:

Dwarf Purple Osier Willow

Arctic Blue Leaf Willow

Goat Willow

The goat willow tree is a small tree with a rounded crown
The goat willow tree is a small tree with a rounded crown that is branching from the bottom.

Scientific name: salix caprea

This member of the salicaceae family is a common willow in Europe and in western Asia. Like the Alaska Blue Willow, it is considered a deciduous tree or large shrub. Good habitats for this shrub would be moist or dampened areas, though it can be planted in almost any type of soil. Just be mindful that the bloom and growth might not amount to the expected 25 feet.

Also known as:

Great Sallow

Coyote Willow

A cayote willow with thin gray-green branches.
A cayote willow evergreen plant with thin gray-green branches.

Scientific name: salix exigua

Excluding the southeast, this willow is native to most of the North American continent. The Coyote Willow was one of the first to make their home in gravely and sandy soil, broadening the range of acceptable areas for a willow to grow. Unfortunately, this species is considered endangered in these U.S. states: Maryland, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

Also known as:

Narrowleaf Willow

Sandbar Willow

Dwarf Willow

A dwarf willow tree is the smallest tree in lime green branches
A dwarf willow tree is the smallest tree in lime green branches that are smooth, thin, strong, and durable.

Scientific name: salix herbacea

Though this willow may be small, it is mighty. The dwarf willow has been able to adapt to harsher environments with cold and freezing temperatures. That means it can be found or grown in arctic and subarctic areas close to the North Atlantic Ocean. The average height of a mature dwarf willow is anywhere between 3 and 6 feet and, as derived from the creeping name, spreads widely.

Also known as:

Least Willow

Snowbed Willow

Tiny Creeping Willow

Scouler’s Willow

Scientific name: salix scouleriana

Native to northwestern North America, Scouler’s willow is categorized as a willow shrub or deciduous tree. It has silky-soft female catkins, as you can see in the photo, and reaches a height of almost 30 feet!

Also known as:

Fire Willow

Nuttall Willow

Mountain Willow

Black Willow

Glaucous Willow

The glaucous willow tiny tree with brown shoots and flowers
The glaucous willow tiny tree with brown shoots and beautiful silky flowers.

Scientific name: salix discolor

Glaucous willow is one of two species commonly known as a pussy willow but is native to North America. The estimated size of this willow is 6 to 15 feet tall and about 4 to 12 feet wide. If you’re looking to keep it small and more manageable, it is recommended that you cut this willow tree to the ground every 3 to 5 years. It will grow back, so don’t worry!

Also known as:

American Pussy Willow

Diamond Willow

A willow stick with diamond-shaped cavities cut
A willow stick with diamond-shaped cavities cut for creative use.

The name “Diamond Willow” comes from a fungal infection that carves diamond-shaped cavities into the branches and bark. This name doesn’t belong to any particular willow tree, but it is a nickname given to any of the willow trees that suffers from attacks by the fungus that gives the trees these diamond-shapes lesions.

Basket Willow

Basket willow tree with new growing branches
A durable and flexible basket willow tree with new growing branches.

Scientific name: salix viminalis, salix purpurea, salix triandra

These willow species are found in their native habitats of Europe, western Asia, and the Himalayas. They are grown with basket weaving specifically in mind. What makes them so ideal as basket material is their durability and flexibility, meaning they are easier to weave with but very durable. Although it is commonly used as basket material, it can be simply for decoration and looks!

Dusky Willow

A dusky willow tree with elongated leaves
A line of dusky willow tree with elongated leaves.

Scientific name: salix melanopsis

The Dusky Willow is another type of shrub or deciduous willow tree, climbing up to approximately 13 feet tall with 5 or 6 centimeter catkins. Like many others, this willow is native to western North America and thrives in moist environments. The riverbanks and meadows you’ve read about previously would be the prime locations for Dusky Willow trees to grow.

Brittle Willow

A big brittle willow with a marshmallow-like appearance
A big brittle willow alongside the water with a marshmallow-like appearance.

Scientific name: salix × fragilis

This marsh-loving willow is actually a hybrid willow species. That means two different types of willow trees were taken and combined to create a new type of tree! The Brittle Willow is a hybrid of salix exigua and salix alba, otherwise known as the Coyote Willow or Narrowleaf Willow and the White Willow. As with other willow trees, the Brittle Willow can be used for weaving but is also planted to assist struggling environments with its quick growth!

Also known as:

Crack Willow

Corkscrew Willow

A corkscrew willow with long, curled, twisted branches in bronze
A corkscrew willow with long, curled, twisted branches appears bronze in color.

Scientific name: salix matsudana

Unfortunately for this willow, it may grow fast but it doesn’t live long. According to, where you can read about tips for growing a Corkscrew Willow, its branches are likely vulnerable to infesting insects and easily broken. Even though this may be true, the Corkscrew Willow trees are some of the most beautiful and breathtaking willow trees you will ever find.

Also known as:

Curly Willow

Arctic Willow

Arctic willow with oval-shaped pointed leaves with catkins
Arctic willow with oval-shaped pointed leaves covered in long hairs with catkins.

Scientific name: salix arctica

Salix arctica is another form of tiny creeping willow. Similar to the Dwarf Willow, and given its appropriate name, this adorable willow is able to withstand and blossom in arctic and subarctic environments. In this picture, you can see that the Arctic Willow blooms in a beautifully vibrant pinkish-purple, with different colored undertones. It is another creeping and crawling willow species that you can enjoy if you’re looking for plants that survive harsh weather.

Peach Leaf Willow

A willow tree with yellow color catkins and cover
A willow tree with yellow color catkins and peeling cover.

Scientific name: salix amygdaloides

First things first: the Peach Leaf Willow does not produce peaches. Bummer, right? The name is actually derived from the shape of its leaves, which is said to resemble a peach. This particular willow was used by the indigenous Ojibwe people as a topical treatment for rashes, but the bark was also used to treat headaches, fevers, and sore throats in the form of willow bark tea.

Almond Willow

A beautiful almond willow tree with catkins
A beautiful almond willow tree with long golden catkins.

Scientific name: salix triandra

Once again, this willow does not produce any almonds. The Almond Willow earned its name from the almond-like shape of its leaves. Considered to be a small, bushy tree or shrub, it reaches the height of 32 feet at maturity. If you notice that the bark of this tree is flaking and falling off, don’t worry! It isn’t sick or under attack from insects, this is a normal attribute of the Almond Willow. The catkins bloom from April to May, but even after this is still a beautiful willow to see!

Also known as:

Almond-leaved Willow

Black Maul Willow

French Pussy Willow

A white-silvery willow tree catkins with brown branches
A wonderful white-silvery willow tree catkins with brown branches.

Scientific name: salix caprea

The white, silvery catkins of this willow are some of the most stunning you might ever find! However, be warned that it can be a messy shrub and it requires the occasional pruning and upkeep to prevent it from growing out and over the space around it. A mature French Pussy Willow should grow as tall as 15 feet unless pruned and trimmed to fit your ideal size. They are a fun, decorative plant to incorporate into your landscaping, almost acting as a privacy hedge because of their height and width.

Japanese Dappled Willow

A willow tree with arching branches and variegated whitish-green leaves
A willow tree with arching branches and variegated whitish-green leaves in the summer.

Scientific name: salix integra

The Japanese Dappled Willow is probably one of the most intriguing willows you’ll find. With colors ranging from white, pink, green, and cream for the leaves, and extraordinary red stems. The average height and width are 3 to 6 feet, so the categorization of ‘shrub’ fits really well. It is advised that you cut back or prune these branches in the month of July to keep them small and manageable.

Also known as:

Haruko Nishiki Willow

Japanese Variegated Willow

What Wildlife Do Willow Trees Attract?

A willow tree on the lake's edge and leaves brushing the water
A willow tree on the lake’s edge and leaves brushing the water.

Different trees attract different wildlife, whether they be animals, insects, or bacteria and fungi. Willow trees, naturally, have their own selection of wildlife that enjoy eating the foliage or affect willow trees in specific ways.


Deer observed eating weeping willows as a last resort for food
Deer have been observed eating weeping willows as the last resort for food.








These seven animals are the most notably attracted to willow trees. They eat and nibble on the foliage of the leaves, as well as thinner twigs and branches, and the seeds that may fall from them. It is only natural for these animals to depend on the habitat and environment where the trees are native or planted.


Ants the first clue that your willows are infested with sap-feeding pests
Ants are generally the first clue that your willows are infested with sap-feeding pests.





These are the types of insects that will attack a willow tree and create something called a ‘gall’. Galls are referencing the swelling of plants or trees, affecting leaves, branches, and even catkins or flowers.


Whether they are the beginnings of moths or butterflies, caterpillars are known for chewing away at the leaves of almost any plant. Willow trees are no exception. Not only do they eat the leaves, but they use them to create their cocoon for their pre-transformation hibernation. Keep an eye on your leaves to make sure there isn’t an infestation, because too much munching can be harmful to even these durable willows.


They may be small enough to go unnoticed, but when in a large group, as they typically are, it will be hard to miss these yellow, red, and green insects. You might think that they are harmless because of their size, but aphids secrete a sticky resin known as honeydew where an aggressive black mold likes to grow. They can also cause infections in the tree, and those can be fatal in the right circumstances.

Beetles & Scales

Like aphids, beetles are small but mighty – just not as small. Many different types of beetles can take to a willow tree, as well as scales. Scales are little insects that suck fluids from the tree, but neither cause as much damage as the other bugs on this list.


A willow tree infected by a fungus with scab.
A willow tree infected by a fungus in yellow-orange color scab.

Venturia Saliciperda

This fungus is known for causing willow shoot blight. Shoot blight is a disease that mostly affects young, growing shoots, but will also go after any new growths on the branches of a mature willow. It causes the shoots to become shriveled and black, and die. The best way to prevent shoot blight from spreading to other parts of the tree is to cut the infected ones off and spray a protectant over new growths to keep them safe.

Also known as:


Cytospora Chrysosperma

Cytospora chrysosperma will cause cankers to form on any of the listed willow trees, as well as other trees that may be of a completely different genus. How this fungus comes to be is through the lack of feralization and poor drainage in the ground. You can identify cankers as dead or rotting pieces of bark on your willow trunk and/or branches. They may even be a recurring problem if you don’t find a better way to fertilize and fix the drainage, so be sure to keep an eye out!

If the cankers are affecting one branch of the tree, prune this branch off to keep it from spreading.


What does this fungus do? It causes rust. Not the kind of rust you’re thinking of, but rust nonetheless! This tree illness appears as small, yellow dots on the underside of willow leaves or brownish-orange areas that appear crusty like metal rust. Young willows are especially susceptible to Melampsora, therefore it becomes a sort of plague in plant nurseries (where saplings are grown before they reach the approved age for planting).

Trametes Trogii

Heart rot is the effect of trametes trogii eating away at the wood of willow trees. This fungus looks for wounds, otherwise seen as gauges or cuts that expose vulnerable parts of the wood. Because of the soft nature of willow wood, these trees tend to be more at risk than others. Heart rot destroys the strong wood within, leaving the tree to become brittle, die, and topple over.

Signs of heart rot include, but are not limited to, mushrooms on the tree trunk, hollow branches, and easily cracking bark and branches. It is important to catch heart rot before it gets too bad because it can be a dangerous fall. The tree may be hollow, but it is still extremely heavy and will cause damage to anyone or anything in the way!