De Meerbrug - Catholic Primary School

Zwanenburg - The Netherlands

Pollard Willow Tree

This piece of work is made by the pupils of grade 5-6

pollard willow trees on dikeThe common name of this tree is Pollard-Willow Tree.

These pictures weretaken on the dike between Halfweg and Zwanenburg. At the other side of the water you can see Zwanenburg. This photo is taken in september 1996. The Pollard-Willow is a special Willow tree. Let's have a closer look.

closer look at pollard willow

Some facts:

General information:
Common name is (in Dutch:) KNOTWILG (in English:) Pollard-Willow
The Botanical name is Salix Alba
It has soft wood, with an average age of 50 years.
It grows best near the water. In Holland it's a common tree; there are many willows. By the way, we think that the oldest tree in Holland is a 800 year old lime-tree.
When the willow achieves a hight of 200-250 cm, the rest will be cut off, so the max. height stays at this size.
The young twigs are used for many purposes.
The leaves are not poisonous. Other plants near the Pollard-Willow are for instance hawthorn, cuckoo gillyflower, rosebay, moss, cow parsley, grass and reed. The Pollard-Willow is amentiferous. Is has catkins. The pupils of The Meerbrug like the tree.
The bark is brown, grey, green. It has green leaves. It grows catkins. The leaves are smooth. An average tree has a girth of approximately 70-100 cm. So just one child (or two) can encircle it with his arms. When a Pollard-Willow is not cut off, it can reach a height of 15-25 metres. A Pollard-Willow needs water; it can't grow in an ordinary forest or in a city. If you come over to visit Holland, and you try to find a Pollard-Willow, search for it near rivers, canals, lakes and so on.
willow near canal
Seasonal Changes
The leaves fall of for Winter. The color of the leaves in Autumm is brown. In Holland we have in the winter sometimes snow; so there is also snow on the trees. The wind and some insects spread the seeds around. But there are also some places in Holland and Belgium were people use the twigs to let new trees grow. They stick the twigs into the wet ground.
Life in this tree
The pupils of De Meerbrug saw the following birds in the trees: starling, crow, sparrow, coal-tit, trush, little owl, woodpecker, windhover and a redbreast.
They saw many beetles, caterpillars, bees, snails and ants. Some children find also spiders.
Uses of the tree
The wood is used for: willow matting, hoops, baskets, basket-work, wooden shoes, artwork
The tree has no smell. If you are lucky to live near the waterfront, you can use the tree to play in. It is excessively usefull to build treeforts/houses in it. The Pollard-Willow is a national tree. A few pupils knew that somtetimes the Willow is used to make tea of it, which is febrifugal.
Literature, Art, Music, Dance

many willows

Some Dutch painters used the Willow-Tree to show a typical Dutch landscape. The pupils had never read a story about a Pollard-Willow. Charon (one of the pupils of grade 6, in Dutch groep 8) made her own drawing. And Maaike (also a girl of grade 6) made a poem about the Pollard-Willow. Frank (a boy from grade 6) found a poem with some nice drawings. Please look at their work.
History and Mythology
Jody (a girl from grade 6) found the story: De Wilgen in de Winter (The Willows at Winter), written by Kenneth Grahams.
She also told us that in the past some people could foretell the future when they saw a blossomed tree.
Charon knows the story from a nobleman from the middle ages who had to hide in a Pollard-Willow.

26 februari 1997
February 26, 1997
Internationale Wensboom
International Wishing Tree

(read the students whishes)

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Last modified (dd-mm-yyyy): 22-11-1997

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