It wasn’t planted yet!
Hogwarts Legacy has a ton of noticeable landmarks to peruse, scattered all over the last two decades or so of Wizarding World history. You have Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Express, and of course, the halls of Hogwarts itself. But one thing that you won’t be able to find is the Whomping Willow: which factors heavily in the third book/film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Here’s why!
The Whomping Willow was planted in 1971, roughly 80 years after the events of Hogwarts Legacy
In the books/films, the Whomping Willow’s job is to protect folks from entering the Shrieking Shack, which is located in Hogsmeade. But if you fly around the town looking for it, it won’t be there. That’s because it was planted in 1971, which is far beyond the events of the game (which takes place in the late 1800s). Harry and his crew entered the Shack and tangled with The Whomping Willow in 1994, 23 years after it was planted. While the gigantic stature of the tree seems like it would lend itself to being planted for many decades, it’s not that old, comparatively, when juxtaposed to a lot of the trees in the nearby Forbidden Forest.
Of course, the team could use this very same engine to create a sequel at some point: taking place in the 20th century (either before the books or concurrently with them). Then we could see the Whomping Willow make an appearance. in-game Hopefully it won’t be reduced to a QTE dodge activity!