Herb: Missouri Willow

Latin name: Salix eriocephala

Synonyms: Salix cordata, Salix rigida

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Medicinal use of Missouri Willow:

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:


4 m
(13 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Sandy to rocky soils, near rivers, creeks and swamps. Sand bars along rivers.

Other uses of Missouri Willow:

The stems are tough and very flexible, they are 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 cultivar "Green USA" is ideal as a windbreak, it tolerates very poor light soils. The plants extensive root system make it effective at binding the soil along the sides of streams. Wood - more durable that that of most willows, it is used for fence posts.

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 Missouri Willow:

Sandy to rocky soils, near rivers, creeks and swamps. Sand bars along rivers.

Known hazards of Salix eriocephala:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.