Almond willow, almond-leaved willow (Eng), sarga, sargatilla blanca (Spa), salsa (Cat), saraxa (Baq), salgueiro de follas do amendoeiro (Glg), salgueiro, salgueiro com folhas de amendoeira (Por).
“A young painter, admirer of the madness of Van Gogh and who lives in an attic, draws his chair but it comes out twisted, he gets mad and argues with him...”
'The Tale of the Wicker Chair', Hermann Hesse
This is a shrub that sometimes reaches the size of small tree, around 4-6 m tall, but occasionally reaches 10 m. Its bark peels off in irregular sheets that are reddish-chestnut, brown or almost black in colour. Its branches are strong and flexible, not brittle like those of Salix fragilis. The leaves are deciduous, simple, alternate, hairless and bluish-white, being somewhat paler on the underside. In appearance and shape they are similar to those of the almond tree (Prunus dulcis), but smaller. They are 2-10 cm long, 0.5-2 cm wide, and are between lanceolate and oblong-lanceolate in shape. The fruits are capsules that open when ripe to release seeds wrapped in a cottony material that helps them be dispersed by the wind.
This species grows in willow groves, at the edges of watercourses and in humid forests, at altitudes of between 50 and 1700 m.
The almond willow inhabits most of Europe and Asia, and has been recorded in Algeria. It is scattered across much of the Iberian Peninsula, although it is rather scarce in Portugal.