Weeping Willow trees originated in China and this species can be found predominantly in Europe, North America and certain areas of Asia. Due to its ability to cross with other species very easily, there are more than 400 different varieties in existence.
It is named as such because of the way the raindrops falling to the ground through its flowing, pendulous branches look like tears. Leaves are long and thin, creating a graceful and somewhat serene feel. Most varieties produce yellow or silver catkins in April. All Weeping Willow trees are deciduous with their majestic shape somewhat enhanced when the hanging boughs are bare in Winter or covered in frost or snow. They have incredibly absorbent root systems, meaning they grow well near bodies of water, and can be used to drain body and waterlogged soils. Although typically renowned for being vigorous and requiring lots of planting space, we sell dwarf Weeping Willow trees which are much more suitable for small gardens, and can even be grown in planters providing a watering regime is in place. We supply Weeping Willows will the usual green foliage, as well as Golden Weeping Willow trees and also Purple Weeping Willow trees for something a little different.
Uses of Weeping Willow Trees
Will bark has been used in medicine since 400BC, when Hippocrates advised people to chew on it to reduce fever and inflammation: the salicylic acid present is one of the main compounds found in modern-day Aspirin. The bark can be used to make tea which works as an anti-oxidant and is also used as a material to make furniture, cricket bats, flutes and whistles.
Weeping Willow trees in Art and Literature
Weeping Willow trees really do have a magnificent beauty about them, which is probably why they have been the subject for many pieces of art and literature over the years. By 1919, Claude Monet had painted ten beautiful Weeping Willows to represent his feelings towards the fallen soldiers of the First World War, as this species symbolises death and mourning in some cultures. Many paintings from the Victorian era also include Weeping Willow trees in memoriam of a loved one. Shakespeare included the Weeping Willow often within his work - just think of the Willow song in Othello and the Willow branch used by Ophelia in Hamlet. Weeping Willow trees are also referenced throughout Twelfth Night. The Weeping Willow also brought inspiration to JK Rowling, who created the fictional "Whomping Willow" for the Harry Potter novels, a magical and violent species planted around the grounds of Hogwarts.
Weeping Willow Trees and Culture
As well as symbolising death (particularly in Greek culture), ironically this species also represents eternal life and overcoming adversity, due to its ability to thrive in conditions where other species wouldn't. According to their mythology, Weeping Willow trees are associated with all that is feminine, as well as fertility and sexuality. In Celtic faith, it is believed that because the Weeping Willow is so closely associated with water, it has connections with the moon: the Celts also believe that its wood increases psychic abilities.