Salix babylonica
weeping willow

Salicaceae (willow family)
China
Weeping willow, Schwab Center. John Rawlings, ca. 2005

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 weeping willows on Galvez Mall east of the southeast corner of Green Library; south of Redwood Hall in Jordan Quad; and on the Golf Course, visible from the intersection of Links Road and Vista Lane.

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