Habit: multi stemmed, low growing, shrub comprised of many tough, thin stems that are maroon turning gray to olive gray. The leaves are bluish-green, not quite opposite and are finely toothed near the tip. The inflorescences are catkins that mature in spring before the leaves emerge. Leaves turn yellow in fall.
Ecology: this is a cultivated variety of the Salix purpurea native to Europe, and into central Asia. It is found in most of the northeastern states, as an introduced species.
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade in moist soil. It is moderately drought tolerant once established.
Because of its fast growth and resilient stems it is used extensively to control erosion along streambanks. It provides cover and food for small animals and excellent nesting sites for birds.