The world’s tiniest tree

By Alex Potter

The dwarf willow would make the perfect Christmas tree for even the tiniest apartment.

Along the coast of the North Atlantic Ocean, a forest weathers the harsh arctic winds. It’s not your typical forest, for this is a forest you could crush beneath your feet, not realising it was there, unless you looked really, really closely.

A Dwarf Willow tree
The Dwarf Willow tree. © Getty
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Growing to a mere 1-6cm in height, the dwarf willow (Salix herbacea) is arguably the world’s tiniest tree. Well adapted to live in arctic and subarctic environments, this tiny wooden sprout has developed the key strategy to surviving the cold; staying really small. In these arctic places, the Dwarf Willow stays close to the ground to avoid the brunt of the cold winds, while growing broad 0.3–2cm leaves that allow it to maximise the amount of sunshine it can catch.

Despite lacking a traditional tree-like appearance, the dwarf willow does produce a single woody stem that bears lateral branches, leading some to classify it as a tree. Although the jury is still out for others, as it does not grow to the considerable height of the more commonly known trees.

From the novice weekend gardener to the experienced green thumb horticulturalist, the dwarf willow would make the perfect Christmas tree. While it doesn’t have the exact striking appearance of a traditional pine, it does make up for it in the following ways:

Fits all spaces

With more and more people living in smaller spaces in increasingly busy cities, the dwarf willow takes up the smallest of spaces in any household. Measuring only 6 x 2cm at its full height and breadth, you could start your own window sill Christmas forest!

It has coloured fruits

The male plants produce a yellow fruit, while the female ones are red, so you can create your own colour combinations to express your creativity.

Not bothered by altitude

Live high up in a mountainous area? No problem! The Dwarf Willow can live at over 1,500m in altitude. It also thrives at sea level so those of us living a little lower down can still enjoy this tiny tree.

Easy to pack up

While it’s always fun to set up the Christmas tree, packing it down never really brings the same joy. But with this tiny wonder, you can simply re-purpose it as a fun plant until next Christmas.

Could this be the perfect Christmas tree for modern living?

Featured image © imageBROKER | Gisela Rentsch | Getty