Salix babylonica (Peking Willow or Babylon Willow) is a species of willow native to dry areas of northern China, but cultivated for millennia elsewhere in Asia, being traded along the silk road to southwest Asia and Europe.
Many botanists, notably the Russian willow expert Alexey Skvortsov, treat the Chinese Willow Salix matsudana as a synonym of Salix babylonica; it is also native to northern China. The only reported difference between the two is that S. matsudana has two nectaries in each female flower, whereas S. babylonica has only one; however, this character is variable in many willows (e.g., Crack Willow Salix fragilis can have either one or two), so even this difference may not be significant.
Peking Willow is a popular ornamental tree in northern China, and is also grown for wood production and shelterbelts there, being particularly important around the oases of the Gobi Desert, protecting agricultural land from desert winds.
It has also been introduced into many other areas, but has not generally been successfully cultivated outside China, being very short-lived and unsightly due to canker diseases in the more humid climates in much of Europe and North America. It is particularly susceptible to canker disease, Willow Anthracnose (Marssonina salicicola) and sensitive to late-spring frosts.
Psalm Culture in the English Renaissance: Readings of Psalm 137 by Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, and Others (*)
Mar 22, 2002; 1. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2. We hanged our harps upon the willows in...