Characteristics, uses and care of salix purpurea

Today we are going to talk about a little tree that is recognized at first glance for its abundant branches of purple tones. His name is Salix purpurea. It is also known by the common names of wicker, serga, fine twill, fine wicker (Spanish), saulic (Catalan), zume gorria, zumarika (Basque), salgueiro and vime (Galician). It belongs to the genus Salix whose main characteristics are the existence of purple branches. Thanks to this exotic color, it is a plant widely used to plant as an ornamental tree.

In this article we are going to talk about what are the characteristics of the care that the Salix purpurea.

Key features

Wicker distribution area

Wicker distribution area

This tree has quite a few purple branches. Thanks to this, it is possible to recognize it at first glance without being a botanist. In industrial areas it is used for its ornamental poweras it is quite resistant to contamination. It has a quite branched crown but with a slight curve. Thanks to its ramifications, it is a tree that provides quite a pleasant shade. Therefore, it can also be used in parks and gardens to create picnic areas.

We can consider this plant for its rapid growth as long as it has a land that allows it to develop in good conditions. If, on the contrary, the soil does not have the necessary nutrients, it cannot develop at the same speed. It usually has an average life expectancy of about 100 years, which makes it a tree of intermediate longevity. We can find it normally a common small tree with shrubs. Its maximum height is usually around 6 meters. It also has some branches with yellowish and reddish colors.

The branches are often found with a sheen as if they were varnished which gives it an even more striking appearance. The leaves have peculiar characteristics that make them different from the leaves of other willows. It is the only species within the genus Salix that is capable of forming opposite leaves. Not for this reason, we can also find some alternate areas in the lower parts of the branches.

It is a deciduous tree with simple leaves. The design of the leaves can be both linear and lanceolate. They are 5 to 12 millimeters wide and 3 to 12 centimeters long. The edges are slightly serrated and do not have stipules. They have a dark green color on the upper side and bluish tones on the underside.

Ecology of Salix purpurea

Purple color of the branches

Purple color of the branches

This ornamental tree has single-sex flowers. These flowers are distributed in the different specimens since it is a dioecious tree. Male catkins have the characteristics of being dense and measuring about 5 centimeters long and 1 wide. On the other hand, female catkins can be straight or curved and sometimes cylindrical in shape. It has dimensions of about 6 centimeters in length and 1 centimeter in width.

The female flowers are those that develop fruits that are a small capsule that contains between 4 and 8 seeds. They are fruits that do not attract much attention.

This tree is quite associated with environments such as humidity. It has the capacity to be able to fix on nearby places of banks and different water courses. In nature we can find these specimens in swamps, riverbanks, streams or even some lagoons. They are located at a height above sea level that is between 50 and 2000 meters.

Due to its resistance and rusticity, it is a plant that can grow in a wide variety of soils. It tolerates high salinity levels very well, so we can also plant it in coastal areas. However, the most suitable soil so that it can develop in good conditions are those that have a high level of humidity, are acidic and stand out for having sand and a clay mixture.

It can be easily propagated by means of seeds or cuttings. It should be raised in humid terrain with direct sun exposure. In addition to being resistant to contamination and different types of soil, it resists the cold very well, enduring temperatures down to -23 degrees.

Distribution area and habitat of the Salix purpurea

The Salix purpurea we can find it today with a distribution area that extends throughout the European continent and North Africa. It is more abundant to find it in America, since everything that is used to make baskets frequently. In our country it is scarcely found in the West. There are some areas of Portugal where we can appreciate some specimens in a remarkable way.

Like other species of the genus Salix, fine wicker can be used in basketry. However, due to the characteristics of its branches, it is worth highlighting its use in conceptions of fine and more elaborate baskets. One of the most widespread uses is that of an ornamental tree due to its peculiar purple branches and as a bank protector, thanks to the fact that it serves to support the land to prevent erosion generated by both water courses and wind or runoff. .

Uses and main care

Branches of the Salix purpurea

Salix purpurea branches

This tree and everything is a very interesting specimen for use in environmental restorations. Above all, it is a species indicated to improve conditions in humid areas such as be the margins of ponds, river banks with rapid water courses and torrents of water. It is a plant that can withstand temporary flooding of the soil as well as being able to withstand a drought caused. This resistance to adverse environmental conditions gives it versatility when it comes to being used as an ornamental plant in different places.

In gardening, it needs relatively moist soils and full sun exposure. They are suitable for forming hedges, medians, alignments and for fixing wet slopes. It is convenient that, although this plant is well adapted to different types of soil, it is raised in a soil with good drainage. That is, the irrigation water is not blown. Ideally, water it occasionally during the summer. During the winter it does not need watering.

I hope that with this information you can know more about the Salix purpurea.

Characteristics, uses and care of salix purpurea

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