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Salix purpurea L.
Family Salicaceae
Common name: Purple Osier

Salix purpurea L. APNI*

Description: Rounded shrub to 6 m high, with many slender, spreading, ascending stems; bark smooth pale grey-brown, yellow inside; twigs glabrous, often in opposite pairs, tough and flexible; buds glabrous, purple-brown.

Leaves very variable in shape and size, linear to lanceolate, or oblanceolate, 2–10 cm long, 5–30 mm long, often in opposite pairs, hairy at first soon glabrous, broadest in upper half, dull dark green above and paler below; margins with teeth confined to the upper half; stipules very small, mostly absent.

Catkins male or female, appearing before the leaves, often opposite, cylindric, erect or almost so, 1–4 cm long; scales blackish-purple; stamens 2.

Capsules 4–4.5 mm long.


Flowering: September–October.

Distribution and occurrence: mainly reproducing by seed. Native of Europe, Siberia, Africa, C Asia & Japan.
NSW subdivisions: *NT, *ST
Other Australian states: *Vic. *Tas.
Declared Noxious Weed
AVH map***

This species is rarely grazed as it contains high enough levels of salicin to cause the leaves and bark to taste very bitter.

Text by S.W.L. Jacobs & L. Murray (2000)
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 1 Suppl. (2000)


APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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