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Common Name: Creeping Willow
Salix repens 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.
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[