Salix babylonica
weeping willow

Salicaceae (willow family)
China
Weeping willow, Jordan Quad. Sairus Patel, 4 Jan 2019
Weeping willow leaves, bark; Jordan Quad. Sairus Patel, 4 Jan 2019

It was thought that the traditional weeping willow reached Europe, where it was named by Linnaeus, from Mesopotamia, maybe because Alexander Pope, on opening a consignment of fruit from Smyrna tied with a red willow withe, planted the cutting and said, “Perhaps this will produce a tree that we do not have in England.” But it is now believed to have originated in ancient times in China. The word willow is used in the King James Bible of 1611, e.g. in Job 40:22 and Psalm 137, but the English name willow did not then necessarily refer to the genus Salix established by Linnaeus (1707–1778); it included other brookside trees such as the poplar.

See a specimen south of Redwood Hall in Jordan Quad (location). Others on Galvez Mall east of the southeast corner of Green Library (location), near the trio of Queensland kauri, were removed around 2015. Weeping willow was also reported on the Golf Course, visible from the intersection of Links Road and Vista Lane, but none were seen in January, 2019.

Weeping willow, Schwab Center. John Rawlings, ca. 2005
Weeping willow near Green Library (now removed). John Rawlings, ca 2004

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Locations and removals updated Jan 2019 (SP).