The coloured stems of this pollarded willow brighten the landscape of the Fen Display.
Salix x fragilis (crack willow) occurs throughout Europe and into Asia, where it grows on river banks and can be valuable in stabilising areas of erosion. Untidy in habit, it can reach 20m in height, and has alternate, slender, toothed leaves, whose upper surface is glossy and hairless. The branches are brittle and break easily with a cracking sound, hence the common name crack willow. This form, the Basford willow, is a vigorous tree with brilliant orange-yellow young growths and small buds which sit tightly against the stems. It was raised by a Nottinghamshire basket-maker William Scaling in the 1860’s, and is grown mainly for its ornamental value, which is enhanced when it is grown as a pollard.