Salix purpurea
Common name: 
Alaska Blue Willow
SA-liks per-PU-ree-a
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous shrub/tree, 8-10+ ft (2.4-3 m).  Leaves alternate, occasionally opposite, simple, slender, 5-10 cm x 0.3-0.8 cm, lustrous dark blue-green above and pale or glaucous below.  Slender branches, tough, purplish at first, finally light gray  Supple stems are used in basket making.
  • Sun.  Good for wet areas, especially to stabilize banks along streams.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3      Native to Europe, northern Africa to central Asia and Japan.  Salix purpurea and another Eurasian willow, Salix viminalis, have long rod-like stems and are highly prized for basketry.  The term, osier, refers to those willows with pliable twigs that are used for furniture and basketry.
  • A few cultivars are available, including a ‘Nana’, a dwarf form.
  • purpurea:  purple, a reference to the young stems
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • plant habit, pruned in the previous winter

    plant habit, pruned in the previous winter

  • leaves and stems

    leaves and stems

  • winter twig and buds

    winter twig and buds