Salix tortuosa ‘Chocolate’

A charming small tree (155′ high by 10′ across) from China and Korea. Please contact us for stock availability and sizes.

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A very interesting deciduous and fast-growing small tree that wiggles upwards to around 12 metres in height and 3-4 metres across. Chocolate-coloured twisty branches are thickly coated in nice limey green leaves through spring to autumn, and then they drop to reveal some amazing branches.

Does a Curly-wurly last longer? So far, no.

When research confectioners were apparently mucking about with toffee (get a job!) in the late 1960s they accidentally invented the tooth-gluing caramel treat we all know and some of us love. However, this curly-whirly wiggly willow was introduced to European cultivation from China way earlier in the early 1900’s, so it’s rather got the jump on Cadbury we reckon.

‘Chocolate’ is a nice cultivar of a weird tree. It is weird. Every cell seems to want to waggle and contort from stem to leaf, and that’s what makes this tree such a conversation piece. The twisted network of branches can be especially appreciated when the tree is dormant in winter and the lovely gooey chocolatey drizzle of its silhouette is framed against the sky or a nicely deep-green backdrop of taller evergreens.

It is most appropriately sited in a decently open spot to enable a proper admiration of this naked winter profile and does make a striking small specimen tree. If you want to it can be cut back annually, to ground level almost, and this encourages the growth of a more thicketty thatch of waggly tangles if that’s what you’re aiming for or want to supply a local florist with branches. They seem to like them. Like all willows, it’s very vigorous and sanguine about being lopped.

Hardy, easy and not fussy as regards soil or aspect. Likes plentiful watering and looks magical when planted close to water.


N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well-watered when first planted.


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