Herb: Tealeaf Willow

Latin name: Salix pulchra

Synonyms: Salix planifolia pulchra

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Medicinal use of Tealeaf Willow:

An infusion of the leaves and bark has been used as an anaesthetic.The bark and the leaves have been chewed to numb the mouth and throat. They have also been chewed as a treatment for mouth sores and are said to make the mouth smell good. The cottony seed floss has been used to dry moist eyes. 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:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Stream banks, lake sides, open woods etc in north-western N. America.

Edible parts of Tealeaf Willow:

Inner bark - raw or cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups or can be 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 and leaves - raw or cooked. They are not very palatable. The leaves and shoots can be eaten with oil to make them more palatable. A good source of vitamin C, they are one of the first new leaves to be produced in the spring. The leaves can be added to soups or eaten in mixed salads. Catkins. No more details are given. The dried leaves have been used to make a tea.

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 Tealeaf Willow:

Stream banks, lake sides, open woods etc in north-western N. America.

Known hazards of Salix pulchra:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.