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Common Name: Dune Willow
Salix hookeriana is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Western N. America - Alaska to California.
Borders of salt marshes and ponds, also on sandy coastal dunes[
]. Streams, ponds and sloughs near the shore[
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[
]. Tolerates maritime exposure[
A fast-growing but short-lived species[
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.
Inner bark - raw or cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and then added to cereal flour for use in making bread etc. A very bitter flavour, it is a famine food that is only used when all else fails[
Young shoots - raw or cooked. They are not very palatable[
]. The leaves have been used as a flavouring in cooked foods[
The leaves have been used as an antidote to shellfish poisoning[
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.
The bark has been used extensively in basket making[
Fibres from the inner bark can be twisted into long ropes[
The soft roots have been used as a towel to rub down after bathing[
An infusion of the roots has been used as a hair wash[
Wood - light, soft, close grained[
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.