Herb: Dune Willow

Latin name: Salix piperi

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Medicinal use of Dune 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:


Habitat of the herb:

Streambanks, swampy places and ditches.

Edible parts of Dune 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 - cooked or used as a flavouring. Not very palatable.

Other uses of the herb:

Stems are very flexible and 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 extensively in basketry. The soft roots are used as a towel to rub down after bathing. A string is made from the bark.

Propagation of Dune 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:

Streambanks, swampy places and ditches.

Known hazards of Salix piperi:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.