Salix pentandra, the bay willow, is a species of willow native to northern Europe and northern Asia. The scientific name refers to the male flowers having five stamens. The English name derives from the resemblance of the leaves to those of the bay laurel; other common names include bay-leaved willow and laurel willow. Its glossy leaves make it more decorative than many other willows, so it is often planted as an ornamental tree.
Salix pentandra is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in June. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.The bay willow is a large shrub or small tree growing to 14 m (46 ft) tall (rarely to 17 metres, 56 ft), usually growing in wet, boggy ground. The leaves are glossy dark green, 5–12 cm (2.0–4.7 in) long and 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in) broad, with finely serrated margins. The dioecious flowers are catkins, produced in late spring after the leaves; the male catkins are yellow, 2–5 cm long, the female catkins greenish, 1.5–3 cm (0.59–1.18 in) long; they are pollinated by bees. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous minute seeds embedded in white down which aids wind dispersal.