Salix purpurea lambertiana
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Common Name: Purple Osier
Salix purpurea lambertiana is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 5.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Europe, including Britain, from Belgium south and east to N. Africa, temperate Asia to Japan.
Wet places in lowland areas[
], preferring neutral or alkaline soils[
Succeeds in most soils, including wet, ill-drained or intermittently flooded soils[
], but prefers a damp, heavy soil in a sunny position[
]. Plants prefer an alkaline or neutral soil, rarely doing well in acid conditions[
]. Said to prefer a sandy soil[
], plants are tolerant of dryish soils[
]. Plants are tolerant of salt water[
A very ornamental plant[
], it is cultivated for its branches which are used in basket making[
], there are some named varieties[
]. Plants are coppiced annually for this purpose[
A very important food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly species[
] and a good bee plant, providing an early source of nectar and pollen[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Plants should be put into their permanent positions as soon as possible[
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 bark is anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, antiseptic, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, hypnotic, sedative and tonic[
]. It is a very rich source of salicin, which is used in making aspirin[
]. The bark of this species is used interchangeably with S. alba. It is taken internally in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, gout, inflammatory stages of auto-immune diseases, diarrhoea, dysentery, feverish illnesses, neuralgia and headache[
]. The bark is removed during the summer and dried for later use[
The leaves are used internally in the treatment of minor feverish illnesses and colic[
], cancerous sores and chronic dysentery[
]. The leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season and are used fresh or dried[
The twigs are used in the treatment of cancer, dysentery and ulcers[
The bark of the stem and roots is anodyne and styptic[
]. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism[
The stems are very tough and 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 is much disliked by rabbits, so a closely woven fence of this plant can be used as a protective barrier[
Plants can be grown as a hedge[
]. Fast growing and very wind-resistant[
The plant has an extensive root system and is used in soil reclamation and stabilization projects along estuaries[
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.