Willows are part of the Salix genus and of the Salicaceae family. There are about 400 species of deciduous trees and bushes that grow mainly in moist soils or near waterways. They live in the temperate or cold regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Most have a tree shape. There are some, however, especially the species that live near the arctic, which form large and low bushes. For example, Salix Herbacea rarely exceeds 6 cm in height and grows very wide, covering the ground. The name derives from the Latin Salix. The willow is a deciduous tree, up to 8-10 meters high, native to Central Asia, but widespread in the wild in most of the Mediterranean area.
The stem of the willow is stocky and short, has a large oval crown, often very disordered, characterized by long pendulous branches, which sometimes reach the ground; the foliage is bright green, grayish on the lower page, lanceolate in shape, very elongated, with serrated margin; the male flowers are long yellow catkins, while the female ones are small greenish inflorescences, both of them bloom on different trees, in early spring, when the leaves sprout. On female plants the flowers are followed by fruits, small capsules that contain semi-feathered motions, which spread in the air in summer. Very elegant and fast growing tree, much loved in the past centuries in gardens; for some years other essences of the same genus have been preferred to S. babylonica, due to the many parasites that easily afflict this tree.