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Common Name: Creeping Willow
Salix repens is a Deciduous Shrub up to 1.00 metres tall.
It has edible, medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, Siberia, W. and C. Asia.
Wet heaths and moorlands[
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[
A polymorphic plant, there are many sub-species and cultivars[
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 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[
An admirable ground cover plant[
]. The plants extensive root system also makes it a good soil stabilizer on sand dunes[
]. The sub-species S. repens argentea is the form best used for this[
]. The plant is also used for stabilizing old waste tips and slag heaps[
The bark contains about 10% tannin[
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.
Division of suckers[