Herb: River Willow


Latin name: Salix fluviatilis


Synonyms: Salix melanopsis


Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)



Medicinal use of River Willow:

The bark has been used in the treatment of certain fevers. 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:
7 m
(23 feet)

Flovering:
May

Habitat of the herb:

Forms extensive thickets and rapidly colonizes sandbars along lowland ponds, lakes and streams in moist sand or gravel overladen with silt.

Other uses of River Willow:

The peeled stems have been used in basket making. The inner bark can be twisted and made into a string. This plant rapidly colonizes sandbanks and wet areas near streams, lakes etc. It is therefore an extremely useful species for stabilizing banks, its network of roots holding the soil securely. It can also be used as a pioneer species to prepare the way for mature woodland. It provides good conditions for other trees to establish and is eventually out-competed by them.

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 River Willow:

Forms extensive thickets and rapidly colonizes sandbars along lowland ponds, lakes and streams in moist sand or gravel overladen with silt.

Known hazards of Salix fluviatilis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.