The “Weeping Willow” leather coral is an example of how unique and cool a Sarcophyton toadstool coral has to be for me to specifically grow it for more than a dozen years. I still remember the first time we saw the original mother colony of the Weeping Willow leather coral, I originally mistook it for an anemone, and it wasn’t until closer examination did I realize I was looking at a soft coral.
The polyps of the Weeping Willow are similar in length to ORA’s Long Polyp Leather but that one has large, almost Xenia-sized polyps and tentacles, while the Weeping Willow’s polyps are typical toadstool size, small tentacles and slender stalks. Having propagated this coral many times I can attest to the stringy threads that form when separating cuttings, one of the defining characteristics of Sarcophyton ehrenbergi.
Some of the Old Salts among you may recognize the header image above, it’s a ten year old picture of the Weeping Willow in my Eclipse 12 nano reef which was featured in the MASNA 2004 or 2005 calendar. Even this smallish colony of the Weeping Willow leather can develop polyps that are more than four inches (10cm) long. In strong flow like in the video, the Weeping Willow is the ultimate Dandelion Doppelgänger but with the flow turned off, the Weeping Willow’s super supple polyps droop over giving its namesake appearance.
I know that there are lots of different Sarcophyton toadstool leather corals out there with long and even really long polyps. But for me, the Weeping Willow is The One and only toadstool leather coral with the impossibly long polyps, that I’ve grown in countless tanks, and which I’ve shared with the extended reefer family since all the way back in 2001. Still pictures look cool and all but you’ve got to see the Weeping Willow in action to really appreciate its movements, so without further delay, enjoy the video.