Basket willow, common osier (Eng), mimbrera, mimbre (Spa); vimenera, salze viminal (Cat); illuncia, zume jatorra (Baq); mimbreira, vimieira (Glg); vimieiro, vimieriro-ordinário (Por).
“Justice comes to be like a basket. Human nature arrives at goodness and justice in a similar way to the way a flexible wicker basket is made.”
'The four books', Confucius
Shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall. The young branches are very long, thin and flexible. At first they are hairy but become smooth, and are greenish, yellowish, greyish or chestnut in colour. It is similar to S. triandra, but is more vigorous. The leaves are simple, deciduous, alternate and very narrow. They are 10 cm long, 1 cm wide, linear or linear-lanceolate and finish in an elongated tip. Their margin is entire or has scattered teeth, and is sometimes wavy. The upper side is a dirty green colour and smooth, and the underside is a little hairy and shiny, with a very well-defined midrib. The flowers are borne on long filaments known as catkins. 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 is frequently cultivated, something that favours it becoming established in the wild, and it is found naturalised in humid and churned up soils, next to cultivated meadows and orchards. It grows from sea level up to approximately 900 m.
The natural range of this species includes much of Europe and Asia, but is not native to the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands where it has been introduced as a crop plant and has naturalised in many places.