Salicaceae (willow family) Salix

Salix alba ‘Tristis’ golden weeping willow

Europe, Asia, Africa

There are not many willows on campus although willows native to the area are common in San Francisquito Creek. Golden weeping willow formerly grew at 1047 Campus Drive East in the SAE parking lot and nearby, but seems to have disappeared from campus in recent years. The leaves, which are about 3 inches long, ¼ inch wide, and pale green underneath, are carried on bright yellow twigs. Cuttings, up to several feet in length, may root directly in moist soil.

In The Story of Gardening, Richard Wright records that the Salictum, or willow collection, became another diversion for country gentlemen. “Nor can we leave the willow without remarking on how its weeping form became the symbol for the correct Victorian female attitude. The modest bending of their slim, pendulous branches, their response to the least breath of wind, readily typify the acquiescence that Victorian ladies were supposed to display.” Reminds me of postfeminism.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.