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Common Name: Sharp-Leaf Willow
Salix acutifolia is a Deciduous Shrub up to 10.00 metres tall.
It has edible, medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
N. Europe to E. Asia.
Succeeds in most soils, including wet, ill-drained or intermittently flooded soils[
], but prefers a damp, heavy soil in a sunny position[
]. Rarely thrives on chalk[
]. Very wind-resistant, tolerating maritime exposure[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
]. Although the flowers are produced in catkins early in the year, they are pollinated by bees and other insects rather than by the wind[
Closely related to S. daphnoides[
] and considered to be a part of that species by some authorities[
Some named forms have been developed for their ornamental value[
]. There are also named forms cultivated for basket making[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Inner bark - raw or cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and added to cereal flours for use in making bread etc. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails[
Young shoots - cooked. They are not very palatable[
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[
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.
Trees can be planted in shelter-belts for protection against the wind[
The extensive root system of this plant is good for binding sandy soils[
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, late autumn to late winter 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, early summer to August in a frame. Very easy.