Herb: Coyote Willow
Latin name: Salix exigua
Synonyms: Salix argophylla, Salix interior
Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)
Medicinal use of Coyote Willow:The bark has been used in the treatment of sore throats, coughs and certain fevers. A decoction of the dried roots has been used in the treatment of venereal diseases. 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:
Habitat of the herb:Forms thickets in estuaries and swamps. Sandy gravelly or mucky soils in or along watercourses, often invading fresh sandbars in rivers and streams.
Edible parts of Coyote Willow:The leaves have been used to make a drink like orange juice.
Other uses of the herb:The flexible branches 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 bark is used to make rope and string. The fibres in the bark have been woven to make clothing, bags and blankets. The shredded inner bark has been used to make sanitary towels and babies" nappies. The twigs have been used as toothbrushes. Plants have an extensive root system, spreading rapidly with long surface roots that produce numerous suckers. They are used in soil stabilization projects and also in reclaiming sandbars etc from rivers. This is a vigorous fast-growing species that paves the way for longer-lived woodland trees. It is intolerant of much shade and is eventually out-competed by the other trees.
Propagation of Coyote Willow: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 the herb:Forms thickets in estuaries and swamps. Sandy gravelly or mucky soils in or along watercourses, often invading fresh sandbars in rivers and streams.
Known hazards of Salix exigua:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.