Herb: Peach Leaved Willow


Latin name: Salix amygdaloides


Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)



Medicinal use of Peach Leaved Willow:

An infusion of the bark shavings has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea and stomach ailments. A poultice of the bark has been applied to bleeding cuts. A decoction of the branch tips has been used as a soak for treating cramps in the legs and feet. The fresh bark of all members of this genus contains salicin, which probably decomposes into salicylic acid (closely related to aspirin) in the human body. This is used as an anodyne and febrifuge.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
20 m
(66 feet)

Flovering:
April

Habitat of the herb:

Along muddy streambanks and in low wet woods bordering rivers, to 2100 metres.

Other uses of Peach Leaved Willow:

The bark is a source of tannin. A light brown dye is obtained from the bark. The young stems are very flexible and can be used in basket making. The plant is usually coppiced annually when grown for basket making, though it is possible to coppice it every two years if thick poles are required as uprights. The tenacious root system of this tree makes it very useful for preventing soil erosion along the banks of rivers etc. It is also a good pioneer species, readily invading any cleared-out area if there is sufficient moisture. It is short-lived and not very shade tolerant and so, having provided good conditions for other woodland trees to become established, it is eventually out-competed by them. Wood - light, close-grained, soft, weak. It weighs 28lb per cubic foot. It is sometimes cut for timber which is used for fence posts, but its uses are mainly limited to charcoal and firewood.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - must be surface sown as soon as it is ripe in late spring. It has a very short viability, perhaps as little as a few days. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, November to February in a sheltered outdoor bed or planted straight into their permanent position and given a good weed-suppressing mulch. Very easy. Plant into their permanent positions in the autumn. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June to August in a frame. Very easy.

Cultivation of Peach Leaved Willow:

Along muddy streambanks and in low wet woods bordering rivers, to 2100 metres.

Known hazards of Salix amygdaloides:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.