Salix matsudana Koidz.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Salix matsudana' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-06-18.


Common Names

  • Peking Willow


The author(s) of a plant name. The names of these authors are stated directly after the plant name often abbreviated. For example Quercus L. (L. = Carl Linnaeus); Rhus wallichii Hook. f. (Hook. f. = Joseph Hooker filius i.e. son of William Hooker). Standard reference for the abbreviations: Brummitt & Powell (1992).
Angle between the upper side of a leaf and the stem.
Reduced leaf often subtending flower or inflorescence.
With an unbroken margin.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Grey-blue often from superficial layer of wax (bloom).
(botanical) Contained within another part or organ.
Lance-shaped; broadest in middle tapering to point.
Gland or surface from which nectar is secreted.
Lowest part of the carpel containing the ovules; later developing into the fruit.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
(in a flower) The part of the carpel that receives pollen and on which it germinates. May be at the tip of a short or long style or may be reduced to a stigmatic surface at the apex of the ovary.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Salix matsudana' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-06-18.

A deciduous tree 40 to 50 ft high; young shoots at first minutely downy, slender, yellowish, changing later to brownish grey and becoming glabrous. Leaves linear-lanceolate, slender-pointed, tapered at the base to a stalk 112 to 14 in. long, finely and regularly toothed (except those at the base of the shoot which are entire), 2 to 4 in. long, 13 to 35 in. wide, bright green above, glaucous beneath and soon quite glabrous. Female flowers in cylindrical spikes about 1 in. long with a few small entire leaves at the base, main-stalk downy. The flower is stalkless in the axil of an ovate bract two-thirds as long as the ovary which is glabrous or hairy, 18 in. long, topped by a dark stigma. Male flowers on short cylindrical catkins about 35 in. long, main-stalk villose; stamens two.

Native of the more arid parts of N. China (Inner Mongolia, Kansu, Shensi, Shansi, etc.) and widely cultivated in the north, growing excellently there and needing no water supply beyond the scanty summer rainfall (F. N. Meyer), but attaining its greatest dimensions at the foot of mountains and in the oases of Inner Mongolia. Its timber is, or was, put to many uses; the packing cases in which porcelain was sent to Europe were made from it, and it served for the construction of disposable boats, which were used to float the cotton crop down the rivers and then destroyed.

S. matsudana was introduced to Kew shortly after 1905 from the Arnold Arboretum, which had received cuttings in that year from a female tree, sent by J. G. Jack from either Korea or from near Peking. In 1913 another plant was received at Kew from the same source, also female, raised from cuttings sent by William Purdom in 1911 when collecting in N. China.

S. matsudana is very closely allied to S. babylonica, in which it has recently been included by the Russian authority A. K. Skvortsov – or rather reincluded, for S. matsudana is really part of S. babylonica as interpreted by earlier botanists, and was first separated from it by Koidzumi in 1915. The only difference between S. matsudana and typical S. babylonica that might be regarded as of specific value is that, according to Schneider, the female flowers of the former have two nectaries, against one (in the posterior position) in typical S. babylonica. However, this observation is not based on examination of a wide range of specimens. In S. fragilis the female flowers commonly have two nectaries, but the anterior nectary (between the ovary and the scale) is sometimes very small or altogether lacking, and it is very likely that S. babylonica-matsudana varies in the same way.


Branches pendulous. Common in N. China as a cultivated tree. According to J. Hers, the Chinese name for it, tao-tsai-liu, means ‘upside-down willow’, from the belief that it can be raised by inserting cuttings the wrong way up. A pendulous male form of S. matsudana was sent to the Arnold Arboretum by F. N. Meyer in 1908, but the plants cultivated in this country are believed to derive from an introduction by J. Hers early in the 1920s, in the same consignment as ‘Tortuosa’ (see below). They are female, with silky ovaries. Young bark green.

'Tortuosa' Dragon's Claw Willow

Twigs and branches much contorted. Cultivated in N. China and introduced to France, probably to the firm of Vilmorin, by the Belgian engineer and plant collector Joseph Hers, early in the 1920s. It makes an interesting tree when young, but becomes less distinct with age.


Of bushy, rounded habit, without a central leader. Cultivated in N. China, where the common name for it is said to mean ‘bread willow’, from its loaf-like shape. It was introduced to the USA by F. N. Meyer in 1906; at the Arnold Arboretum, six years planted, it had made a specimen 20 ft high and 30 ft wide (Journ. Arn. Arb., Vol. 6, p. 205).