The smallest tree in the world is the Dwarf Willow. When fully grown, it can reach a height of 5 cm (2 inches). However, the tree does spread itself out a bit. It is also known as the Snowbed Willow, Least Willow and by its scientific name Salix herbacea.
Distribution and Range
The Dwarf Willow can be found all over the world. The tree can be seen in Canada, Greenland, northwest Asia and the northern Atlantic. The Dwarf Willow can also be seen in mountain ranges, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Alps and Pyrenees. The tree can also flourish in rocky moorland and tundra.
The leaves are round and green. They are 1 cm long (0.4 inch). There are female and male catskins on the Dwarf Willow. For this reason, its appearance varies. The male catskins are yellowish while the females are red.
Facts about Dwarf or Mini Willows
The miniature weeping willows come in different species. But there are two basic types: the small and large ones. Except for the size differential, the features are the same. The small ones are the alpine and arctic species.
The small ones look like bushes and stay very close to the surface. As stated, they hardly grow over two inches, but they can cover a wide area. Compared to the smallest tree in the world, the large versions can reach heights of five feet.
The typical Dwarf Willows can be purchased in nurseries, but the alpine and arctic versions are harder to get. They may be found in specialty nursery stores. Due to their size, the arctic willows are cheaper.
How Willows are Grown and Maintained
Willows are easy to plant. You just remove a branch from a willow tree and put it in water. Roots will appear and sapling will be produced. To maintain the willow, the branches have to be untangled. Trimming may also be done to keep it tidy.
Use in Medicine
Texts from Sumer, Egypt and Assyria state that bark and leaves of the willow tree can be used to cure fever and aches. The ancient Greeks, including Hippocrates, believed that it had healing powers too. The Native Americans also used it to treat various ailments.
It should be noted that not all scientists recognize the Dwarf Willow as the smallest tree in the world. Others view the Dwarf Willow as a shrub that does not fit the description of a tree.