Herb: Pacific Willow


Latin name: Salix lasiolepis


Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)



Medicinal use of Pacific Willow:

The bark is antipruritic, astringent, diaphoretic and febrifuge. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of colds, chills, fevers, measles and various diseases where sweating can be beneficial. A decoction of the bark has been used as a wash for itchy skin. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of colds and diarrhoea. A decoction of the catkins has been used in the treatment of colds. The fresh bark 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:
12 m
(39 feet)

Flovering:
April

Habitat of the herb:

Well-drained sandy loams to rich rocky or gravelly soils along streams at lower elevations, especially in California where it becomes more tree-like.

Other uses of Pacific Willow:

The stems have been used in basket making. The stems have been split for making coiled baskets or as for the weft in twined baskets, whilst they are used unsplit as the warp in twined 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 tough inner bark, harvested in the spring, has been used to make rope and clothing. The wood is close-grained, light, soft and weak, but has been used for fuel and to make charcoal.

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 Pacific Willow:

Well-drained sandy loams to rich rocky or gravelly soils along streams at lower elevations, especially in California where it becomes more tree-like.

Known hazards of Salix lasiolepis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.