Crack Willow

Salix fragilis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Trees and shrubs
  3. Crack Willow


Crack Willow is a large willow tree found along riverbanks, around lakes and in wet woodland. It is often planted alongside rivers and dykes to stabilise their banks and dykes, and is usually pollarded to allow light through to the water. These pollards can be contorted and gnarled, and often so full of crevices that other species start to grow from them such as Ash and Holly. Crack Willow is so-named because its trunk can grow so fast that it is liable to split open under its own weight.

How to identify

Crack Willow is often pollarded with a gnarled, cracked trunk. It has long, dark green leaves which are glossier than those of the White Willow, and have more jagged teeth along the edges.

Where to find it



When to find it

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How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife, including trees such as willows. But these precious sites are under threat from development, drainage and climate change. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Crack Willow
Latin name
Salix fragilis
Trees and shrubs
Height: 20-25m
Conservation status