Bempt Park Forest / Vorst
GPS coordinates :
50.8025 , 4.3130
Scientific inventory


Category :
Arbre remarquable
Latin name :
Salix alba
French name :
Saule blanc
Dutch name :
Gewone wilg
English name :
White willow
Family :
Height :
5 m (approx)
Targeted height :
This species can grow up to 25 m, sometimes 30 m
Diameter of the crown :
Trunk circumference :
between 80 en 150 cm
Expected circumference :
500 cm
Expected longevity :
Can live for 150 years
Origin / Indigenous
Europe, western and northern Asia, northern Africa
Favorite soil :
Prefers humid, light and fresh soils
Favorite climate

Usefulness and services of the tree :

Enhances the landscape :
Enhances the biodiversity :
Provide oxygen :
Purify the air :
Filter the water :
Prevents flooding :
Stores carbon :
Softens the climate :
Limits soil erosion :
Does good, heals :
Belgian Federal State Collection on permanent loan to the [Meise Botanical Garden](<>). Hempel, Die Bäume und Sträucher dese Waldes, pl. 27, 1889

Features and characters of the individual

This tree and its neighbours have a distinctive silhouette, as they are pollards that have been cut at the top to encourage growth. As such they look like they are missing their crowns. The branches are harvested every 5–7 years. The result is that the trunk gets thicker as it gets higher, and twists and hollows following the effect of the wind. They are home to a large number of birds and insects. Their bark is yellowy brown towards a grey-ash colour. Their leaves are covered with silky little silver hairs.
Several bands of white willows inhabit Parc du Bempt, with one band going round a magnificent row of poplars. These two species come from the same family: Salicaceae. They were planted together to shape the landscape, separate farming plots and protect crops from the wind. All of these trees are acquainted with life in the meadows in the lower part of Forest. They have seen their green space targeted little by little by the city and industrialisation. Willows have many therapeutic properties, not only for humans but also for soils. They have the power to fight ground pollution: a very valuable gift nowadays!

This portrait is enriched with an illustration from the Belgian Federal State Collection on permanent loan to the Meise Botanical Garden. See attached. Thanks to the library (heritage collection) for this contribution.