Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa'
Common name: 
Corkscrew Willow
Dragon's Claw Willow
Contorted Willow
SA-liks mat-su-DA-na
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Deciduous tree, 20-30 ft (6-9 m), oval rounded crown, contorted stems, "corkscrew" effect most evident after leaf fall.  Leaves alternate, 5-10 cm long, only slightly recurved. A female clone.
  • Sun.  More drought tolerant than most willows.  Contortion increases with vigor so pollarding enhances it, leaves conceal contorted branches, thus most effective in winter.   Fast growing, but a short life.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4      The species is native to China, Korea.
  • The cultivar 'Tortuosa' was introduced into North America in 1923 when Arnold Arboretum received a cutting from China, it was named the next year and entered commerce during the 1930s (Jacobson, 1996).  There are at least two other selections with a similar twisted habit:
    • (a) Salix 'Golden Curls', with weeping, golden, twisted twigs, a hybrid of S. alba 'Tritis' and S. m. 'Tortuosa'.
    • (b) Salix Scarlet Curls®, it has golden twisted twig, scarlet in the winter, and curly leaves.  It may also be a hybrid with 'Tortuosa' as one of it parents.
  • 'Tortuosa': Latin tortuosa means full of crooks or turns
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: south side of 11th St. Gate
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, branch and leaves, spring

    plant habit, branch and leaves, spring

  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • leafy shoot

    leafy shoot

  • leaves


  • plant habit and branches, winter

    plant habit and branches, winter

  • trunk, bark and branches

    trunk, bark and branches

  • winter twig, buds

    winter twig, buds