Common Osier

©Anne Tanne

Common osier

+ -
Scientific name: Salix viminalis
The Common osier is a small willow tree that is found in fens and ditches, and on riverbanks. It has been widely cultivated and coppiced for its twigs, which are used in traditional basket-making.

Top facts

Stats

Height: 6-7m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The Common osier is a small willow tree that is particularly common in wet areas such as fens, ditches and riversides. It has also been widely cultivated and planted for its twigs, which are coppiced and used in basket-making. Indeed, even living willows are being woven into fences, screens and sculptures.
Like with other willows, male and female flowers are found on different plants; make catkins are yellow, while female ones are green.

What to look for

The Common osier is a small, scrub-forming tree. It has very long, narrow, pointed leaves, with slightly rolled in sides and silvery hairs underneath. Its male catkins are yellow and its female catkins are greenish.

Where to find

Widespread.

Did you know?

During the Second World War, domestic basket-making was banned, so willow-makers turned their hands to creating panniers for ammunition and food that were dropped from aeroplanes to the troops below.