Pacific Willow (Salix lasiolepis)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Pacific Willow
Salix lasiolepis
Salicaceae

The stems have been used in basket making[229, 257]. 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[257]. 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[257].

The wood is close-grained, light, soft and weak, but has been used for fuel and to make charcoal[82, 229].

  • Medicinal Use

    The bark is antipruritic, astringent, diaphoretic and febrifuge[257]. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of colds, chills, fevers, measles and various diseases where sweating can be beneficial[257]. A decoction of the bark has been used as a wash for itchy skin[257].

    An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of colds and diarrhoea[257].

    A decoction of the catkins has been used in the treatment of colds[257].

    The fresh bark contains salicin, which probably decomposes into salicylic acid (closely related to aspirin) in the human body[213]. This is used as an anodyne and febrifuge[213].

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

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.
Succeeds in most soils, including wet, ill-drained or intermittently flooded soils[1, 11], but prefers a damp, heavy soil in a sunny position[200]. Rarely thrives on chalk[200]. A fast-growing but short-lived species[229], it is shrub-like and from 1 – 6 metres tall in the north of its range, becoming more tree-like in California[60]. This species is closely related to S. irrorata[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200]. Although the flowers are produced in catkins early in the year, they are pollinated by bees and other insects rather than by the wind[11]. They form a valuable early food for bumble bees[200]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Western N. America – Washington to California and Mexico.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.