Salix mucronata subsp. woodii, the flute willow, is a deciduous shrub or tree with drooping branches that may grow to 12 m, but usually does not reach much beyond 3 m (SA Tree List No. 36.2).
It is almost invariably found next to river banks and other watercourses. The tree is often damaged by flood waters, sometimes recovering in modified shape when not uprooted. The distribution is rivers of northern KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo flowing into the Indian Ocean.
The leaves are lanceolate and velvety or hairless. Spring leaves are smaller than the summer leaves that exceed 6 cm in length. The leaf margins may be entire or serrated. Young branchlets and the leaves are grey.
Tiny yellow male and green female flowers grow in spikes in early spring and sometimes again in autumn. The fruit is a small capsule that splits to release tufted, woolly seeds that are wind dispersed.
There are now four recognised subspecies of S. mucronata in southern Africa associated with different geographical regions (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002).