Leaf: Alternate, simple, oblanceolate, 2 to 4 inches long and very narrow, entire or with a few teeth at tips, very short reddish petiole, dark green to blue-green above, much paler and whitened (silvery) below.
Flower: Species is dioecious; 1 to 2 inches long, fuzzy catkins on a slender 1 inch stem, yellowish white, appearing in early spring with the leaves.
Fruit: Small (1/4 inch) long pointed capsules in long, narrow clusters; each capsule contains numerous small fuzzy seeds.
Twig: Very slender, reddish purple and green, shiny; buds red with a single cap-like scale, small, appressed.
Bark: Smooth, gray green.
Form: Upright very dense, rounded shrub reaching up to 10 feet in height with a very fine texture.
Looks like: sandbar willow
Additional Range Information: Salix purpurea is planted in the USDA hardiness zones shown above and may seed into the landscape. Download the full-size PDF map.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information