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Common Name: River Willow
Salix fluviatilis is a Deciduous Tree up to 7.00 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
Western N. America - Washington and Oregon.
Forms extensive thickets and rapidly colonizes sandbars along lowland ponds, lakes and streams in moist sand or gravel overladen with silt[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. It is a fast-growing but short-lived species in the wild[
]. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
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[
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 bark has been used in the treatment of certain fevers[
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 peeled stems have been used in basket making[
The inner bark can be twisted and made into a string[
This plant rapidly colonizes sandbanks and wet areas near streams, lakes etc. It is therefore an extremely useful species for stabilizing banks, its network of roots holding the soil securely. It can also be used as a pioneer species to prepare the way for mature woodland. It provides good conditions for other trees to establish and is eventually out-competed by them[
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.