Timberpedia - Crack Willow

Crack Willow

Latin Name:Irish Name:Native to Ireland?
Salix Fragilis No

About the Tree

The Crack Willow (Salix fragilis) is a willow native to Europe and Asia. It is a fast growing tree to 27
m tall, commonly found growing on wet lowland beside rivers. The bark is covered by a network of
thick ridges. The tree has long slender, upswept branches with dangling leaves. The shoots are
pale orange before the leaves appear in March/April.

The leaves are bright green, 9-15 cm long and 1.5-3 cm wide, with a finely serrated margin. The
dioecious flowers are catkins, produced in early spring.

Its name derives from the twigs which break off very easily and cleanly at the base with an audible crack. The broken twigs and branches take root readily, enabling the species to colonise new areas,
particularly where the broken twigs fall into rivers and can be carried some distance downstream. It
is particularly adept at colonising new riverside sandbanks formed after floods. Age typically to 200
years but possibly 1000.

About the Wood

Wood is pinkish, soft, light, brittle and easily splits. Uses of wood –
Varied uses such as children’s toys, artificial limbs and charcoal. Food and drink – Used as folk
remedy for various ills but active ingredient found to be salicylic acid and now supplied as “Aspirin”.

Salix fragilis 002 Tree in native riparian habitat
Salix fragilis 001 Leaves
About the TimberPedia

Know your wood! The Timberpedia is a broad resource that aims to catalogue all the major tree species in Ireland, containing information that we’ve gathered from over two decades maintaining our natural woodland and serving Ireland’s woodworking industry.

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