Willows growing naturally and subspontaneously in Meise Botanic Garden

Anne Ronse, Sonja Deneve and Pol Meert

Willows growing naturally and subspontaneously in the historic domain of Meise Botanic Garden (MBG) in the vicinity of Brussels have been surveyed, and their local frequency has been compared to their known distribution in Flanders (northern Belgium). Fourteen Salix taxa were found, among which were several rare or very rare hybrids, such as Salix × capreola A.Kern. ex Andersson, S. ×charrieri Chass. and S. × subsericea Döll. The latter hybrid must have originated from a cultivated S. repens. An as yet unidentified willow has been encountered, which is likely a hybrid of a non-native Salix in the outdoor collections. The richest willow flora occurs around the lakes and in the semi-natural moist woody areas. Some willows, such as S. viminalis once grown for basketry near the castle, are descendants of previously existing plantings. It is clear that willows play a significant ecological, economic and cultural-historical role in the MBG domain.
Skvortsovia: 5(3): 56 – 63 (published on line 4 March 2020)