Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa'
Dragon's Claw Willow
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