Herb: Yellow Willow

Latin name: Salix lasiandra

Synonyms: Salix lucida lasiandra

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Medicinal use of Yellow Willow:

The inner bark is haemostatic. It has been applied externally to bleeding cuts. A decoction of the branch tips has been used for soaking the feet and legs in the treatment of cramps. A decoction of the leaves has been used to treat colds and sore throats. A cold infusion of the charred, pulverized stems has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. 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:


15 m
(49 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Streamsides from sea-level to moderate elevations.

Edible parts of Yellow Willow:

Inner bark - raw or cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and then added to cereal flour for use in making bread etc. A very bitter flavour, it is a famine food that is only used when all else fails. Young shoots - raw or cooked. They are not very palatable.

Other uses of the herb:

The stems are very flexible and can be used in basket making. The twigs have been used to make the withes for the three-rod foundation coils of baskets. The branches have been used as the warp in twined baskets and foundation in coiled baskets. 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 inner bark can be twisted and made into two-ply strings. The bark has been used as a thread in basket making. The wood was formerly used to make charcoal, but is not utilised at the present time.

Propagation of Yellow 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:

Streamsides from sea-level to moderate elevations.

Known hazards of Salix lasiandra:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.