Corkscrew Willow, Curly Willow, Pekin Willow, Hankow Willow, Twisted-Twig Willow

Salix matsudana

Family: Salicaceae (sal-i-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salix (SAL-iks) (Info)
Species: matsudana (mat-soo-DAY-nuh) (Info)
Synonym:Salix babylonica var. pekinensis
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Eufaula, Alabama

Frisco City, Alabama

Smiths, Alabama

Anderson, California

Atascadero, California

Sacramento, California

Simi Valley, California

Stockton, California

Travis Afb, California

Vallejo, California

Winsted, Connecticut

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Emmett, Idaho

Elgin, Illinois

Granite City, Illinois

Jacksonville, Illinois

Palmyra, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Georgetown, Indiana

Gardner, Kansas

Louisburg, Kansas

Smiths Grove, Kentucky

Shreveport, Louisiana

Ludington, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Carriere, Mississippi

Olive Branch, Mississippi(2 reports)

Hamilton, Montana

Springfield, Nebraska

Trenton, New Jersey

Wrightstown, New Jersey

Beaufort, North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Garner, North Carolina

Jacksonville, North Carolina(2 reports)

Stanley, North Carolina

Aurora, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

Tiffin, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Owasso, Oklahoma

Bend, Oregon

Cheshire, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Palmerton, Pennsylvania

Robesonia, Pennsylvania

Campobello, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Ladys Island, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Pocahontas, Tennessee

Toone, Tennessee

Houston, Texas

Huntsville, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Palacios, Texas

Clarksville, Virginia

Great Falls, Virginia

South Boston, Virginia

Concrete, Washington

Kennewick, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Menasha, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 3, 2013, MaryArneson from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

We planted one from a cutting 25 years ago and it has grown to 30 feet. It is fun to look at and provides many branches to fill out bouquets.


On Apr 30, 2013, grannyjude from Granite City, IL wrote:

The red, Corkscrew Willow was planted as a twig in our backyard. Our old neighbors across the street like to "watch it dance in the wind". They thought it represented a dancing couple. They were always porch-sitting, and it gave THEM life. It was a beautiful five-year specimen. It divided itself between our house power line without menace. The power company gave an OK because of new branch softness. We waited until we were told the couple had to go into a nursing home, then we cut it at five years old. It was cut because it grew too good, what a green thumb we have! The base was grand, however, we were afraid it would become too much for our sewer line. The wood was not wasted, the grand kids enjoyed home camp fires with friends. We are happy to report that today we purchased a yellow Cork... read more


On Sep 11, 2010, BogieBob from Roseburg, OR wrote:

My Curly Willow and I enjoyed a Happy Labor Day this year! After cleaning the gutters at my Pop’s house… Leaf blowing my back patio (twice)… Watching some Tennis and Golf on TV… I finally made it out to my shop to play. I ended up with this Ringed Bud Vase. (see pix) I call it “ringed” because it has a floating “ring” that is my 1st attempt at one. Hey… it worked! Found the insert at the local Dollar Tree… Came in a package of 4. I think they are supposed to be shot glasses… but they are better suited as part of my Bud Vase :o) Finished up with friction polish. So... when you trim up your Willow... don't forget how beautiful it can be with just a little work and some imagination :o) Enjoy your day and don’t forget to play!


On Jul 3, 2010, MarthaMoye from Jacksonville, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

We love our curly willow tree! It's easy to propogate- just cut a 1"-2" thick branch, plant it about one to two feet into the prepared ground, water it well the first year, and watch it grow! (If the planted branch has a lot of green leaves, you might want to give it a "haircut". If not, it will be unable to sustain the greenery and will have a hard time putting down roots.) It's a great pass-along plant for neighbors. (That's how we received our!) You can also cut a branch and put it in a bucket of water, and it will start putting out roots within a few weeks.
The curly willow does grow very quickly, but be aware that a strong wind and very wet soil make them easy to topple when they're taller. As for pruning it, you can't go wrong! In the early spring, I'd prun... read more


On May 9, 2010, mrdiffendoofer from Maryville, TN wrote:

had one when i was a kid. just bought a house this past summer and planted a corkscrew willow. Very please with the rapid growth. the trere is in a part of the yard that receives a lot of water run-off. I think it is very happy where it is planted. I really like this tree and its unique look. When the wind blows, the shape and personality continue to change.


On Apr 11, 2010, sulyn from Astoria, OR wrote:

can you plant this in a half wiskey barrel for a few years?


On Feb 6, 2010, sophees32 from Emmett, ID wrote:

Iv herd that a crooked willow is short lived.Does anyone know how long they do live? I have a large one in the corner of my yard we just love and Im not sure but I think it maybe about 15.Its had a problem with borers which Iv treated it the last 2 years with a bayer product.Also had some dead taken out out of it.But this year Iv noticed large branches dieing and mushrooms now growing on the main trunk.It spreads low on the trunk with a large cavity we try and keep clean.I s there any hope for saving this tree?


On Aug 16, 2009, EventDiva from Mount Vernon, OH wrote:

I grew up with corkscrew willows in my backyard. My parents live 30 to 45 minutes south east of Cleveland on a small lake and we have always gotten *lots* of cold weather and heavy snow. They planted their original corkscrew willow tree around 1976 and it's still going strong. A second tree, started from a shoot, was gnawed down by a beaver in its first year (the trees are right on the bank of the lake) while we were on a trip. My parents replanted the tree, rootless (and *inside* our old fence), on the off chance it would survive and it did! They do drop a bit of litter but never enough that we cared. We love those trees! The original tree is about 30' tall and has been for a long time - they seem to hit a certain "happy" point and stop. And, the "baby" tree is about 20' tall. No rot or f... read more


On Jul 25, 2008, wendymadre from Petersburg, VA wrote:

Bought a 12-inch corkscrew willow from a vendor at the growers' market in Petersburg, Virginia, (Zone 7) last year. She and another vendor have had several to sell this year, too, as well as the cut branches, so I'm supposing that it does fine here. This year it's lovely, healthy, and six or seven feet tall. I am not sure I have enough room to plant it in my yard, now that I read that it gets forty feet tall. I am wondering if it could thrive in a semi-Bonsai sort of condition, in a seven gallon pot, with the branches getting trimmed as needed and the roots getting trimmed once a year. Should I keep it or give it away?


On Apr 20, 2008, mbhoakct76 from Winsted, CT wrote:

I started one off a 5' branch that had fallen off a freinds tree, it rooted and grew another 3' in the first summer , so within a few months i had a 8' tree!!! If you want quick shade a willow tree is the way to go, this curly willow adds a bit of interest with its contorted branches. As someone else mentioned the wood is brittle - so they sometimes have a short life, but if you loose branches in a windstorm and the tree has become raggedy looking- you can always try cutting it back a bit- it will regrow quickly.


On Jan 8, 2008, wsm002 from Huntsville, TX wrote:

We planted the tree in early spring, it has grown about 5 feet tall within the year. But this winter it is losing all of it's leaves is that normal? We do not know much about the tree.


On Nov 21, 2007, fancyemily from Portland, OR wrote:

Got an old house with this big old beautiful tree! This is a yard tree that gets sun and is protected on its north side by a 5 story building. Loooove it so much, want to have a tree-viewing porch. Tree-trimming-climber-guy said it was the oldest curly willow he had ever seen...maybe 70-80yrs old?! It should have a blog! Sooo big! Lotsa litter, but so what?! The neighbors help pick up the branches, to use for interior decorating.


On Sep 17, 2007, garden_n_mom from North Cascades, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Mine grows about 2 feet a year! Looks great in boquets. The branches can be wired for spiral, braids and all kinds of neat shapes.


On May 28, 2007, msdaveys from Palmerton, PA wrote:

I have 5 Curly Willows growing along side my long driveway about 40 ft apart. The trees were given to me when they were about ten ft high about 3 or so years ago. They spent their 1st winter in a clump in the woods on my property because we got them late fall. The next spring we saw they survived the winter here in northeastern, Pa., so we planted them along the driveway, watered them constantly by putting a whole in a 5 gallon bucket well into the summer. They took hold beautifully. That winter we had a horrible ice storm in the Poconos that distroyed millions of tree, they were like ice statues, but come spring they didn't even have a broken branch. They are now about 20 ft high each and are beautiful.


On Apr 9, 2006, wolfsowl from Kelowna,
Canada wrote:

I have a curly (or corkscrew) willow in my front yard that is at least 40 years old, and may be even older. It is a beautiful, huge tree that has done well in a semi-arid climate with no nearby water source. It provides plenty of shade without affecting the grass beneath it, and the leaves are easy to clean up in fall. The only unfortunate feature is it's location, as it is close to power lines and the utility company prunes it heavily (and not very carefully). As a result, some of it's larger branches have been stumped off and flickers have been drilling nest holes in them, which may end up killing the tree. There is also a large, sweet smelling fungus growing in the crook of some of the branches which is very tough to get rid of. I have been trying to cultivate a few of the branc... read more


On Apr 5, 2005, belovedstar from Travis AFB, CA wrote:

I planted a propagated stem that was approx. 15 inches tall in the spring of last year 04. The tree grew 12 feet the first summer. The tree now stands about 20 ft tall and is very healthy and vigirous. I love the twisted leaves and limbs. Make sure you plant it in an out of the way place away from pipes, very invasive. Being in a new neighborhood and having a tree grow so rapidly has been something special to see. Love this one. If anyone knows how I can propagate it myself please let me know. Thank you. Amanda


On Aug 3, 2004, DeniseinPA from Levittown, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I took a branch from another tree and planted it in the yard and it took just fine. Accidently, it was weed-wacked down to nothing, and suprisingly it sprouted back with with a 5 branched trunk, which made it very full and interesting. Not knowing how full and tall it would get - it is about 4 years old and 25 ft or so tall, I planted it too close to power lines and now must keep it constantly pruned - did I say this tree grows FAST, also, I am a little worried as to how the roots grow - will it harm the sewer pipes it is planted near? This tree is a little messy - it drops alot of the smaller branches. but even with that is a very visually interesting tree. The only regrets I have is the location I planted it.


On Oct 13, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

We planted a Corkscrew Willow in the front side-yard of our first home. We ended up removing it about 8 years later, as it succumbed to continual splitting and disease problems. On the plus side, it was certainly a fast-growing shade tree in a new yard, but I wouldn't count on one as a permanent landscape feature.


On Oct 13, 2003, tower wrote:

My Corkscrew Willow has branches turning black. The main trunk is about 3 inches in diameter. It was planted last spring and has been watered regularly with some deep watering in the hot summer.


On Aug 18, 2003, melissaanderson from Gardner, KS wrote:

I planted a 5-6' specimen in my yard in 1999. It is in a SE location, in a new subdivision that has no trees. It has grown quickly, already 15-16'(turns out it is placed in a natural watershed area when it rains). I did have some concern 2 yrs ago when it developed a large fungus growth near the mid-upper section of the trunk before the first set of branches. The damage was not caused by a mower or weedeater as it is 3-4 ft from the ground and the tree has a 2 ft diam. ring of much, then a layer of limestone to block the grass. The fungus was large and flat like a shelf, and I had purple lesions going into the bark and the lesions have also occurred on other areas of the trunk and upper branches, but the tree seems to have recovered and is doing quite nicely. I have been told this tree... read more


On Jun 30, 2003, Iniki01 from Frisco City, AL wrote:

I just planted a corkscrew willow; it's about 10' tall and I planted it next to my backyard pond. I planted it right before the rain from tropical storm bill came about so it is getting alot of rain.

I will be happy to let ya'll know how its growing. I live in Frisco City/Monroeville Alabama area.


On Jun 24, 2003, enochj from (Zone 7b) wrote:

I live in zone 7. About 1 1/2 years ago, we planted a rooted 20" limb in a small area that is mulched heavily. When it rains a lot this area stays very mushy for a while. We have very dry summers but the sprinkler system waters 3-4 times weekly. Under these conditions has grown to about 6 feet tall and has many limbs which sway in the breeze. I bought it because a friend has one which is about 20 feet tall and is beautiful in all seasons. The ends of the long twisted limbs can be cut and used in large floral arrangements. This year, I read that willow roots are shallow and worry about the driveway, which is nearby.


On Jun 11, 2003, froghill from Eufaula, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have a small corkscrew growing in full sun in the back garden. It is from a wood cutting that had rooted in water and was part of a fresh flower arrangement sent to my friend. A note was attached from the florist that said to plant it. My friend does not garden and gave it to me.
It is about 20 inches tall, watered frequently; and is thriving, new shoots everywhere.