Crack Willow (Salix fragalis)

Crack Willow (Salix fragalis) is a species of willow native to Europe and western Asia, usually growing beside rivers.

  • Crack Willow Tree  -  Salix Fragilis  -  Mature Tree
  • Crack Willow Tree  -  Salix Fragilis  -  Leaves

Useful info about Crack Willow trees

Latin NameSalix fragalis
TypeDeciduous (loses its leaves in winter)
HeightCan grow up to 10 - 25 metres (35 - 80 feet)
SpreadThe branches can spread out to 15 - 20 metres (50 - 70 feet)
Soil Types PreferredClay, Sand
Locations SuitableFarmland, Gardens, Parks
FlowersCatkins in Spring
Celtic Tree MonthApril 15 - May 12


The name derives from the twigs which break off very easily and cleanly at the base with an audible crack.

The broken twigs and branches take root readily, enabling the species to colonise new areas, where the broken twigs fall into rivers and can be carried some distance downstream. It is particularly adept at colonising new riverside sandbanks formed after floods.

It is a medium-sized to large deciduous tree, which grows rapidly to 10–20 m (rarely to 29 m) tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter and an irregular, often leaning crown.

The bark is grey-brown, coarsely fissured in older trees. The leaves are bright green, 9-15 cm long and 1.5-3 cm wide, with a finely serrated margin. They are very finely hairy at first in spring, but soon become hairless.

The flowers are produced in catkins in early spring, and pollinated by insects. They are dioecious, with male and female catkins on separate trees; the male catkins are 4–6 cm long, the female catkins also 4–6 cm long, with the individual flowers having either one or two nectaries.


Crack Willow stems are flexible and are used in basket making.

Crack Willow is used to make flooring and the wood also makes a good quality charcoal.


Any uses for trees or tree extracts, whether edible or medicinal, have not been tried or tested by EFORESTS.

Please take caution and seek proper advice before attempting any recipes or medicinal extracts from any of the trees listed on our site.

Culture and Symbolism

The Crack Willow tree is believed to represent survival, adaptability, fertility and new life.

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