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Common Name: Coyote Willow
Salix exigua is a Deciduous Tree up to 9.00 metres tall.
It has edible, medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
N. America - Alaska to New Brunswick, south through central N. America to Texas.
Forms thickets in estuaries and swamps[
]. Sandy gravelly or mucky soils in or along watercourses, often invading fresh sandbars in rivers and streams[
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[
Plants send out underground stems from which new branches sprout. They quickly form dense thickets[
]. The root system is rather aggressive and can cause problems with drains[
]. It is best not to plant this species within 10 metres of buildings.
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[
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.
The leaves have been used to make a drink like orange juice[
The bark has been used in the treatment of sore throats, coughs and certain fevers[
A decoction of the dried roots has been used in the treatment of venereal diseases[
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[
The flexible branches 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.
The bark is used to make rope and string[
]. The fibres in the bark have been woven to make clothing, bags and blankets[
The shredded inner bark has been used to make sanitary towels and babies' nappies[
The twigs have been used as toothbrushes[
Plants have an extensive root system, spreading rapidly with long surface roots that produce numerous suckers. They are used in soil stabilization projects[
] and also in reclaiming sandbars etc from rivers[
]. This is a vigorous fast-growing species that paves the way for longer-lived woodland trees. It is intolerant of much shade and is eventually out-competed by the other trees[
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.