Species list


Salix canariensis


Sao, sauce canario (Spa).


DID YOU KNOW...? It is said that the bark and leaves of this tree cure headaches.


Deciduous tree up to 15 m tall with a straight, short trunk that branches almost from the base. The greyish-white bark is smooth at first, becoming cracked with age, and the branches are long, flexible, and sometimes hang down a little. The young twigs are covered with a fine whitish tomentum. The leaves are simple, alternate, and narrowly lanceolate, up to 15 cm long and 2-3 cm wide. They have a fine, irregularly serrated, sometimes entire margin. They have small stipules on both sides of the leaf stalk and there are often orange or reddish galls on the tree caused by insects. The upper side of the leaf is dark green and the underside is whitish, tomentose and silky to the touch, particularly when the leaves are young. This characteristic differentiates Salix canariensis from the crack willow (Salix fragilis), whose leaves are hairless on both faces. The flowers are borne in winter-spring, grouped into long filaments. The male blooms hang down somewhat whereas the females are more upright in this dioecious species. The fruits are small capsules that open into two parts, or valves, to release tiny seeds with a cottony tuft that helps their dispersal by the wind.


This tree is very demanding when it comes to environmental humidity, and tends to form gallery forests around ravines containing perennial water courses. It can also grow near streams, headwaters, seeps, small lagoons, and even near irrigation channels. It mainly lives between altitudes of 250 and 1600 m.


This willow is endemic to Madeira and the Canary Islands. In the Canaries, it can be found on El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.