The Info List - Willow

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About 400. See List of _Salix_ species

WILLOWS, also called SALLOWS, and OSIERS, form the genus _SALIX_, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs , found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere . Most species are known as willow, but some narrow-leaved shrub species are called OSIER, and some broader-leaved species are referred to as SALLOW (from Old English _sealh_, related to the Latin
word _salix_, willow). Some willows (particularly arctic and alpine species) are low-growing or creeping shrubs; for example, the dwarf willow (_Salix herbacea _) rarely exceeds 6 cm (2.4 in) in height, though it spreads widely across the ground.


* 1 Description

* 1.1 Flowers

* 2 Cultivation * 3 Hybrids * 4 Ecological issues * 5 Pests and diseases

* 6 Uses

* 6.1 Medicine * 6.2 Manufacturing * 6.3 Other

* 7 Culture * 8 Selected species * 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Bibliography * 12 External links


At the base of the petiole a pair of stipules form. These may fall in spring, or last for much of the summer or even for more than one year (marcescence ).

Willows all have abundant watery bark sap , which is heavily charged with salicylic acid , soft, usually pliant, tough wood , slender branches, and large, fibrous, often stoloniferous roots . The roots are remarkable for their toughness, size, and tenacity to life, and roots readily sprout from aerial parts of the plant.

The leaves are typically elongated, but may also be round to oval, frequently with serrated edges. Most species are deciduous ; semievergreen willows with coriaceous leaves are rare, e.g. _Salix micans_ and _S. australior_ in the eastern Mediterranean
. All the buds are lateral; no absolutely terminal bud is ever formed. The buds are covered by a single scale. Usually, the bud scale is fused into a cap-like shape, but in some species it wraps around and the edges overlap. The leaves are simple, feather-veined, and typically linear-lanceolate. Usually they are serrate, rounded at base, acute or acuminate. The leaf petioles are short, the stipules often very conspicuous, resembling tiny, round leaves, and sometimes remaining for half the summer. On some species, however, they are small, inconspicuous, and caducous (soon falling). In color, the leaves show a great variety of greens, ranging from yellowish to bluish.


Young male catkin

Willows are dioecious , with male and female flowers appearing as catkins on separate plants; the catkins are produced early in the spring, often before the leaves.

The staminate (male) flowers are without either calyx or corolla ; they consist simply of stamens, varying in number from two to 10, accompanied by a nectariferous gland and inserted on the base of a scale which is itself borne on the rachis of a drooping raceme called a catkin, or ament. This scale is square, entire, and very hairy. The anthers are rose-colored in the bud, but orange or purple after the flower opens; they are two-celled and the cells open longitudinally. The filaments are threadlike, usually pale brown, and often bald.

The pistillate (female) flowers are also without calyx or corolla, and consist of a single ovary accompanied by a small, flat nectar gland and inserted on the base of a scale which is likewise borne on the rachis of a catkin. The ovary is one-celled, the style two-lobed, and the ovules numerous.


Almost all willows take root very readily from cuttings or where broken branches lie on the ground. The few exceptions include the goat willow (_ Salix caprea _) and peachleaf willow (_ Salix amygdaloides _). One famous example of such growth from cuttings involves the poet Alexander Pope , who begged a twig from a parcel tied with twigs sent from Spain to Lady Suffolk . This twig was planted and throve, and legend has it that all of England's weeping willows are descended from this first one.

Willows are often planted on the borders of streams so their interlacing roots may protect the bank against the action of the water. Frequently, the roots are much larger than the stem which grows from them.


Willows are very cross-compatible, and numerous hybrids occur, both naturally and in cultivation. A well-known ornamental example is the weeping willow (_Salix × sepulcralis_), which is a hybrid of Peking willow (_ Salix babylonica _) from China and white willow (_Salix alba _) from Europe. A Weeping Willow, an example of a hybrid between two types of willow

The hybrid cultivar 'Boydii' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society 's Award of Garden Merit .


Knotted willow and woodpile in the Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen , Ghent , Belgium

Willows are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species , such as the mourning cloak butterfly . Ants, such as wood ants , are common on willows inhabited by aphids , coming to collect aphid honeydew , as sometimes do wasps .

A small number of willow species were widely planted in Australia, notably as erosion -control measures along watercourses. They are now regarded as invasive weeds , and many catchment management authorities are removing and replacing them with native trees.

roots spread widely and are very aggressive in seeking out moisture; for this reason, they can become problematic when planted in residential areas, where the roots are notorious for clogging French drains , drainage systems , weeping tiles , septic systems , storm drains , and sewer systems , particularly older, tile, concrete, or ceramic pipes . Newer, PVC sewer pipes are much less leaky at the joints, and are therefore less susceptible to problems from willow roots; the same is true of water supply piping.


species are hosts to more than a hundred aphid species, belonging to _Chaitophorus_ and other genera, forming large colonies to feed on plant juices, on the underside of leaves in particular. _ Corythucha elegans _, the willow lace bug, is a bug species in the family Tingidae found on willows in North America.

Rust , caused by fungi of genus _ Melampsora _, is known to damage leaves of willows, covering them with orange spots.



The leaves and bark of the willow tree have been mentioned in ancient texts from Assyria
, Sumer
and Egypt as a remedy for aches and fever , and in Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
the physician Hippocrates
wrote about its medicinal properties in the fifth century BC. Native Americans across the Americas
relied on it as a staple of their medical treatments. It provides temporary pain relief. Salicin is metabolized into salicylic acid in the human body, and is a precursor of aspirin . In 1763, its medicinal properties were observed by the Reverend Edward Stone in England. He notified the Royal Society
Royal Society
, which published his findings. The active extract of the bark, called salicin, was isolated to its crystalline form in 1828 by Henri Leroux , a French pharmacist, and Raffaele Piria , an Italian chemist, who then succeeded in separating out the compound in its pure state. In 1897, Felix Hoffmann
Felix Hoffmann
created a synthetically altered version of salicin (in his case derived from the _ Spiraea _ plant), which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. The new drug, formally acetylsalicylic acid , was named Aspirin
by Hoffmann's employer Bayer
AG . This gave rise to the hugely important class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs ).


Some of humans' earliest manufactured items may have been made from willow. A fishing net made from willow dates back to 8300 BC. Basic crafts, such as baskets , fish traps, wattle fences and wattle and daub house walls, were often woven from osiers or withies (rod-like willow shoots, often grown in coppices ). One of the forms of Welsh coracle boat traditionally uses willow in the framework. Thin or split willow rods can be woven into wicker , which also has a long history. The relatively pliable willow is less likely to split while being woven than many other woods, and can be bent around sharp corners in basketry. Willow
wood is also used in the manufacture of boxes , brooms , cricket bats , cradle boards , chairs and other furniture, dolls , flutes , poles , sweat lodges , toys , turnery, tool handles, veneer , wands and whistles . In addition, tannin , fibre , paper , rope and string can be produced from the wood. Willow
is also used in the manufacture of double basses for backs, sides and linings, and in making splines and blocks for bass repair.


_ Male catkin of Salix cinerea _ with bee _ Willow
tree in spring, England Willow
tree with woodbine honeysuckle The willow tree as seen as the main part of an heraldic escutcheon over the main portal of a patrician house belonging to the Salis family in Chur , Switzerland, circa_ 1750 _ Environmental art installation "Sandworm " in the Wenduine Dunes, Belgium, made entirely out of willow

* AGRICULTURE: Willows produce a modest amount of nectar from which bees can make honey, and are especially valued as a source of early pollen for bees. Poor people at one time often ate willow catkins that had been cooked to form a mash. * ART: Willow
is used to make charcoal (for drawing) and in living sculptures . Living sculptures are created from live willow rods planted in the ground and woven into shapes such as domes and tunnels. Willow
stems are used to weave baskets and three-dimensional sculptures, such as animals and figures. Willow
stems are also used to create garden features, such as decorative panels and obelisks. * ENERGY: Willow
is grown for biomass or biofuel , in energy forestry systems, as a consequence of its high energy in-energy out ratio, large carbon mitigation potential and fast growth. Large-scale projects to support willow as an energy crop are already at commercial scale in Sweden. Programs in other countries are being developed through initiatives such as the Willow
Project in the US, and the Energy Coppice Project in the UK. Willow
may also be grown to produce charcoal . * ENVIRONMENT: As a plant, willow is used for biofiltration , constructed wetlands , ecological wastewater treatment systems, hedges , land reclamation , landscaping , phytoremediation , streambank stabilisation (bioengineering ), slope stabilisation, soil erosion control, shelterbelt and windbreak , soil building, soil reclamation, tree bog compost toilet, and wildlife habitat . * RELIGION: Willow
is one of the " Four Species " used ritually during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot
. In Buddhism
, a willow branch is one of the chief attributes of Kwan Yin
Kwan Yin
, the bodhisattva _ of compassion. Christian churches in northwestern Europe and Ukraine and Bulgaria often used willow branches in place of palms in the ceremonies on Palm Sunday .


In China, some people carry willow branches with them on the day of their Tomb Sweeping or Qingming Festival . Willow
branches are also put up on gates and/or front doors, which they believe help ward off the evil spirits that wander on Qingming. Legend states that on Qingming Festival, the ruler of the underworld allows the spirits of the dead to return to earth. Since their presence may not always be welcome, willow branches keep them away. In traditional pictures of the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin
, she is often shown seated on a rock with a willow branch in a vase of water at her side. The Goddess employs this mysterious water and the branch for putting demons to flight. Taoist witches also use a small carving made from willow wood for communicating with the spirits of the dead. The image is sent to the nether world, where the disembodied spirit is deemed to enter it, and give the desired information to surviving relatives on its return. The willow is a famous subject in many East Asian nations' cultures, particularly in pen and ink paintings from China and Japan.

A _gisaeng _ (Korean geisha ) named Hongrang, who lived in the middle of the Joseon Dynasty , wrote the poem "By the willow in the rain in the evening", which she gave to her parting lover (Choi Gyeong-chang). Hongrang wrote:

"...I will be the willow on your bedside."

In Japanese tradition, the willow is associated with ghosts. It is popularly supposed that a ghost will appear where a willow grows. Willow
trees are also quite prevalent in folklore and myths.

In English folklore, a willow tree is believed to be quite sinister, capable of uprooting itself and stalking travellers. The Viminal Hill, one of the Seven Hills Of Rome , derives its name from the Latin
word for osier, _viminia_ (pl.).

Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story called "Under the Willow
Tree" (1853) in which children ask questions of a tree they call "willow-father", paired with another entity called "elder-mother ".

"Green Willow" is a Japanese ghost story in which a young samurai falls in love with a woman called Green Willow
who has a close spiritual connection with a willow tree. "The Willow
Wife" is another, not dissimilar tale. "Wisdom of the Willow
Tree" is an Osage Nation story in which a young man seeks answers from a willow tree, addressing the tree in conversation as 'Grandfather'.

The Whomping Willow
is featured throughout the Harry Potter series, most notably as a guardian for a backdoor entrance to the Shrieking Shack. This is especially important in the third and seventh installments of the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows respectively.

In Central Europe a "hollow willow" is a common figure of speech, alluding to a person one can confide secrets in. The metaphor was used e.g. in the poem _Král Lávra_ (King Lear) by Czech poet Karel Havlíček Borovský (1854).


Main article: List of Salix species

The genus _Salix_ is made up of around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs :

* _ Salix acutifolia _ Willd. – long-leaved violet willow * _ Salix alaxensis _ (Andersson) Coville * _ Salix alba
Salix alba
_ L. – white willow * _ Salix amygdaloides _ Andersson – peachleaf willow * _ Salix arbuscula _ L. * _ Salix arbusculoides _ – littletree willow * _ Salix arctica _ Pall. – Arctic
willow * _ Salix arizonica _ Dorn * _ Salix atrocinerea _ Brot. – grey willow * _ Salix aurita _ L. – eared willow * _ Salix babylonica _ L. – Babylon willow, Peking willow or weeping willow * _ Salix bakko _ * _ Salix barclayi _ Andersson * _ Salix barrattiana _ – Barratt's willow * _ Salix bebbiana _ Sarg. – beaked willow, long-beaked willow, and Bebb's willow * _ Salix bicolor _ * _ Salix bonplandiana _ Kunth – Bonpland willow * _ Salix boothii _ Dorn – Booth's willow * _ Salix brachycarpa _ Nutt. * _ Salix breweri _ Bebb – Brewer's willow * _ Salix canariensis _ Chr. Sm. * _ Salix candida _ Flüggé ex Willd. – sageleaf willow * _ Salix caprea _ L. – goat willow, or pussy willow * _ Salix caroliniana _ Michx. – coastal plain willow * _ Salix chaenomeloides _ Kimura * _ Salix cinerea _ L. – grey willow * _ Salix cordata _ Michx. – sand dune willow, furry willow, or heartleaf willow * _ Salix delnortensis _ C.K.Schneid. – Del Norte willow * _ Salix discolor _ Muhl. – American willow * _ Salix drummondiana _ Barratt ex Hook. – Drummond's willow * _ Salix eastwoodiae _ Cockerell ex A.Heller – Eastwood's willow, mountain willow, or Sierra willow * _ Salix eleagnos _ Scop. - olive willow * _ Salix eriocarpa _ * _ Salix exigua _ Nutt. – sandbar willow, narrowleaf willow, or coyote willow * _ Salix floridana _ * _ Salix fragilis _ L. – crack willow * _ Salix fuscescens _ - Alaska bog willow * _ Salix futura _ * _ Salix geyeriana _ Andersson – Geyer's willow * _ Salix gilgiana _ Seemen * _ Salix glauca _ L. * _ Salix glaucosericea _ * _ Salix gooddingii _ C. R. Ball – Goodding's willow, or Goodding's black willow * _ Salix gracilistyla _ Miq. * _ Salix hastata _ L. * _ Salix herbacea _ L. – dwarf willow, least willow or snowbed willow * _ Salix hookeriana _ Barratt ex Hook. – dune willow, coastal willow, or Hooker's willow * _ Salix hultenii _ * _ Salix humboldtiana _ Willd. * _ Salix integra _ Thunb. * _ Salix interior _ * _ Salix japonica _ Thunb. * _ Salix jepsonii _ C.K.Schneid. – Jepson's willow * _ Salix jessoensis _ Seemen * _ Salix koriyanagi _ Kimura ex Goerz * _ Salix kusanoi _ * _ Salix laevigata _ Bebb – red willow or polished willow * _ Salix lanata _ L. – woolly willow * _ Salix lapponum _ L. - downy willow * _ Salix lasiolepis _ Benth. – arroyo willow * _ Salix lemmonii _ Bebb – Lemmon's willow * _ Salix libani _ – Lebanese willow * _ Salix ligulifolia _ C.R.Ball – strapleaf willow * _ Salix lucida _ Muhl. – shining willow, Pacific willow, or whiplash willow * _ Salix lutea _ Nutt. – yellow willow * _ Salix magnifica _ Hemsl. * _ Salix matsudana _ Koidz. – Chinese willow or twisted willow, variant _Corkscrew_ * _ Salix melanopsis _ Nutt. – dusky willow * _ Salix miyabeana _ Seemen * _ Salix monticola _ * _ Salix mucronata _ - Cape silver willow * _Salix microphylla _ Schltdl. & Cham. * _ Salix myrsinifolia _ Salisb. * _ Salix myrtillifolia _ * _ Salix myrtilloides _ L. – swamp willow * _ Salix nakamurana _ * _ Salix nigra _ Marshall – black willow * _ Salix orestera _ C.K.Schneid. – Sierra willow or gray-leafed Sierra willow * _Salix paradoxa _ Kunth * _ Salix pentandra _ L. – bay willow * _ Salix phylicifolia _ L. * _Salix pierotii _ – Korean willow * _ Salix planifolia _ Pursh. – diamondleaf willow or tea-leafed willow * _ Salix polaris _ Wahlenb. – polar willow * _ Salix prolixa _ Andersson – MacKenzie's willow * _ Salix pulchra _ * _ Salix purpurea _ L. – purple willow or purple osier * _ Salix reinii _ * _ Salix reticulata _ L. – net-veined willow * _ Salix retusa _ * _ Salix richardsonii _ * _ Salix rorida _ Lacksch. * _ Salix rupifraga _ * _ Salix schwerinii _ E. L. Wolf * _ Salix scouleriana _ Barratt ex Hook. – Scouler's willow * _Salix sepulcralis_ group – hybrid willows * _ Salix sericea _ Marshall – silky willow * _ Salix serissaefolia _ * _ Salix serissima _ (L. H. Bailey) Fernald — autumn willow or fall willow * _ Salix serpyllifolia _ * _ Salix sessilifolia _ Nutt. – northwest sandbar willow * _ Salix shiraii _ * _ Salix sieboldiana _ * _ Salix sitchensis _ C. A. Sanson ex Bong. – Sitka willow * _ Salix subfragilis _ * _ Salix subopposita _ Miq. * _ Salix taraikensis _ * _ Salix tarraconensis _ * _ Salix taxifolia _ Kunth – yew-leaf willow * _ Salix tetrasperma _ Roxb. – Indian willow * _ Salix triandra _ L. – almond willow or almond-leaved willow * _ Salix udensis _ Trautv. border:solid #aaa 1px">

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Wikimedia Commons has media related to SALIX _.

_ Wikispecies has information related to: SALIX _

* _Aravah _, the Hebrew name of the willow, for its ritual use during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles ; * List of Lepidoptera that feed on willows * _ Rhabdophaga rosaria _, a willow gall; * Willow
Project ; * Willow water , using the biological rooting hormones indolebutyric acid and salicylic acid from willow branches to stimulate root growth in new cuttings; * Sail ogham letter meaning willow.


* ^ " Genus
SALIX (WILLOWS)". _Taxonomy_. UniProt. Retrieved 2010-02-04. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Mabberley, D.J. 1997. The Plant
Book, Cambridge University Press #2: Cambridge. * ^ George W. Argus. _The Genus_ Salix _(Salicaceae) in the Southeastern United States_. Systematic Botany Monographs. 9. JSTOR 25027618 . * ^ Leland, John (2005) _Aliens in the Backyard: Plant
and Animal Imports into America_, p. 70. Univ of South Carolina Press. At Google Books. Retrieved 11 August 2013. * ^ Laird, Mark (1999) _The Flowering of the Landscape Garden: English Pleasure Grounds, 1720-1800_, p. 403. University of Pennsylvania Press At Google Books. Retrieved 11 August 2013. * ^ "RHS Plant
Selector - _Salix_ \'Boydii\'". Retrieved 2 June 2013. * ^ "Mourning Cloak". Study of Northern Virginia Ecology. Fairfax County Public Schools. * ^ Albury/Wodonga Willow
Management Working Group (December 1998). "Willows along watercourses: managing, removing and replacing". Department of Primary Industries, State Government of Victoria. * ^ Cremer, Kurt W. (2003). "Introduced willows can become invasive pests in Australia" (PDF). * ^ Salix spp. UFL/edu, _Weeping Willow_ Fact Sheet ST-576, Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson, United States Forest Service * ^ "Rooting Around: Tree
Roots", Dave Hanson, _Yard Eastop, V. F. (1994). _Aphids on the World\'s Trees_. CABI. ISBN 9780851988771 . * ^ David V. Alford (2012). _Pests of Ornamental Trees, Shrubs and Flowers_. p. 78. * ^ Kenaley, Shawn C.; et al. (2010). " Leaf
Rust" (PDF). * ^ James Breasted (English translation). "The Edwin Smith Papyrus". Retrieved 2007-06-09. * ^ "An aspirin a day keeps the doctor at bay: The world\'s first blockbuster drug is a hundred years old this week". Retrieved 2007-06-09. * ^ W. Hale White. "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Therapeutics". Retrieved 2011-04-02. * ^ The palaeoenvironment of the Antrea Net Find The Department of Geography, University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki
* ^ Hageneder, Fred (2001). _The Heritage of Trees_. Edinburgh : Floris. ISBN 0-86315-359-3 . p.172 * ^ Aylott, Matthew J.; Casella, E; Tubby, I; Street, NR; Smith, P; Taylor, G (2008). "Yield and spatial supply of bioenergy poplar and willow short-rotation coppice in the UK" (PDF). _New Phytologist_. 178 (2): 358–370. PMID 18331429 . doi :10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02396.x . Retrieved 2008-10-22. * ^ Mola-Yudego, Blas; Aronsson, Pär. (2008). "Yield models for commercial willow biomass plantations in Sweden" (PDF). _ Biomass
and Bioenergy_. 32 (9): 829–837. doi :10.1016/j.biombioe.2008.01.002 . Retrieved 2009-11-20. * ^ "Forestresearch.gov.uk". Forestresearch.gov.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-18. * ^ "Customs". * ^ "ChurchYear.net". ChurchYear.net. Retrieved 2011-12-18. * ^ Doolittle, Justus (2002) . _Social Life of the Chinese_. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7103-0753-8 . * ^ Doré S.J., Henry; Kennelly, S.J. (Translator), M. (1914). _Researches into Chinese Superstitions_. Tusewei Press, Shanghai. Vol I p. 2 * ^ "The Forest of Willows in Our Minds". Arirang TV. August 20, 2007. Retrieved September 10, 2007. * ^ "In Worship of Trees by George Knowles: Willow". * ^ "Mythology and Folklore of the Willow". * ^ "Under The Willow
Tree". Hca.gilead.org.il. 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2011-12-18. * ^ "Green Willow". Spiritoftrees.org. Retrieved 2011-12-18. * ^ The Willow
Wife Archived May 18, 2008, at the