The Trees at Keele
Crack Willow Salix fragilis
Origin: A native species, often abundant beside rivers and canals where it is often pollarded.
The status of Crack Willow is confused. Its name is given to a complex of tree-willows consisting of a number of distinct segregates all of which share the features below. In Staffordshire we have three varieties : Salix fragilis fragilis, Salix f. russeliana and Salix f. decipiens.
The bark is covered by a network of thick ridges. The tree has long slender, upswept branches with rather pendulous leaves. The shoots are pale orange before the leaves appear in March/April.
The twigs are brittle at the point of attachment and break off cleanly at the base - hence the name Crack Willow.
Location : one small tree by the pool behind the Sports Centre, square J4, tag 2191; another by Estates and Buildings square K5, tag 2282.