Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Salix alba L. var. aurea Hort.

Salix alba is a fully hardy, fast-growing, spreading tree of conical habit with slender branches, drooping at the tips, with lance-shaped leaves, to 10cm long, yellow male catkins, to 5cm long, or stalkless, yellow-green female catkins, to 3cm long, produced in spring with the leaves.  Aurea is a less vigorous tree with yellowish-green branches and pale yellow leaves.  To 25m.  [RHSE, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

No doubt an ancient garden plant.  In its usual form its timber was much used for fencing and similar purposes.  Salix alba var. vitellina, the Golden Willow, is figured in English Botany. [English Botany pl.MCCXI/1863-86]. The variety vitellina is the form generally called Golden Osier today and may be identical to aurea.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.916/1845].


Published Mar 25, 2009 - 02:36 PM | Last updated Mar 25, 2010 - 03:12 PM

Figured is a reddish-yellow branch with narrow lance-shaped leaves and yellow catkins.  English Botany pl.MCCXI, 1863-86.

Salix alba L. var. vitellina Hort. | English Botany pl.MCCXI/1863-86 | BHL

Family Salicaceae
Region of origin

Europe, North Asia, North Africa.  The form aurea is of garden origin.

  • Salix alba L. var. vitellina Hort.
  • Salix aurea Salisb.
Common Name

White willow, Golden osier

Name in the Camden Park Record

Salix aurea - Golden osier 

Confidence level high