Curly Willow

Common Names: Curly Willow, Peking Willow, Corkscrew Willow

Botanical names: Salix matsudana, SAY-liks mat-soo-DAN-a

Availability: Year round. The best quality is available in spring and early summer.

Vase life: 6 to 10 weeks

Storage temperatures: 34 - 36 degrees Fahrenheit

Ethylene Sensitive: No

Description: Contorted, slender, flexible and twisted branches often forming graceful arcs and loops. The bark of curly willow is smooth and grayish-brown when young, gradually becoming rougher and fissured with age. While usually not purchased with leaves, in early summer Curly Willow produces green leaves that are long and slender, with a slightly serrated edge.

Color: The bark of curly willow is smooth and grayish-brown.

Botanical facts: Curly willow belongs to the family Salicaceae, which includes willows and poplars. Its scientific name is Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa'. The specific epithet 'Tortuosa' refers to the twisted or contorted nature of its branches.

Design notes: The twisted, contorted branches of curly willow add a dynamic and textural element to floral arrangements. They can be used to create height, movement, and interest in designs. Their form can provide a sense of drama and elegance. Curly willow branches are often used as a structural element (armature) in floral arrangements, providing support for other flowers and greenery.

Purchasing hints: Purchase branches that fresh. Freshness is indicated by stems being very flexible and without leaves.

Conditioning: Break or cut with a sharp knife two to three inches of the stem end. Hydrate in a solution of warm water and commercial floral preservative / floral food for two hours before storage or usage. Re-cut the stems and place in a fresh water solution every two days for the longest life.

Additional notes: Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world. For centuries, people have used the bark of willow trees to relieve pain and fever without knowing that aspirin as salicylic acid was the active ingredient.