Willow

Scientific name: Salix spp.
Abundance: plentiful
What: twigs, inner bark
How: tea made from chopped up twigs; inner bark is an emergency food and is eaten raw or dried and ground into flour
Where: woods, water, sunny fields, landscaping
When: twigs highest in salicylic acid in early spring; inner bark any time
Nutritional Value: inner bark contains carbohydrates
Other uses: Willows contain salicylic acid which is a precursor of aspirin.
Dangers: Salicylic acid can cause stomach upset in high doses.

Mature willow tree.
Willow

Medium-sized willow tree.
Willow

Close-up of leaves.
WillowLeaves

Willow trunk
WillowBark

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.
WillowTX

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Willow

The long, wispy branches of willow trees give them an appearance unlike any other tree. They require a lot of water so look for them along wet areas. Their high demand for water can cause problems when used in landscaping as their roots will invade and clog sewer and water pipes.

The inner bark (cambium layer) can be shredded and chopped then boiled into a porridge to obtain calories. The outer bark of young branches is shredded then made into a tea which contains the precursor of aspirin and will give all the medical benefits (and dangers) of aspirin. The best results are achieved using pencil-thick branches harvested in late winter before the leaves begin to bud.

Willow branches are high in a chemical called Gibberellic acid which is a plant hormone responsible for triggering root growth. The rooting powder and solution purchased in stores to help propagate plant cuttings is this chemical. You can make your own rooting solution by grinding up willow twigs in a clean pencil sharpener then soaking these willow shavings in water for 5-7 weeks. When you want to propagate a plant via a cutting dip the cutting's stem in this willow solution first.

Privacy Statement

I use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit this website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.