Whole genome duplications (WGD) have had strong impacts on species diversification by triggering evolutionary novelties, however, relatively little is known about the balance between gene loss and forces involved in the retention of duplicated genes originating from a WGD. We analyzed putative Salicoid duplicates in willows, originating from the Salicoid WGD, which took place more than 45 Mya. Contigs were constructed by de novo assembly of RNA-seq data derived from leaves and roots from two genotypes. Among the 48,508 contigs, 3,778 pairs were, based on fourfold synonymous third-codon transversion rates and syntenic positions, predicted to be Salicoid duplicates. Both copies were in most cases expressed in both tissues and 74% were significantly differentially expressed. Mean Ka/Ks was 0.23, suggesting that the Salicoid duplicates are evolving by purifying selection. Gene Ontology enrichment analyses showed that functions related to DNA- and nucleic acid binding were over-represented among the non-differentially expressed Salicoid duplicates, while functions related to biosynthesis and metabolism were over-represented among the differentially expressed Salicoid duplicates. We propose that the differentially expressed Salicoid duplicates are regulatory neo- and/or subfunctionalized, while the non-differentially expressed are dose sensitive, hence, functionally conserved. Multiple evolutionary processes, thus drive the retention of Salicoid duplicates in willows.