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Common Name: Yew-Leaf Willow
Salix taxifolia is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 10.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
South-western N. America - Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.
Prefers growing by cool streams and in canyons at elevations of 900 - 1800 metres, it is found in oak forests, desert grassland and by streams in desert areas[
We have very little information on this species and do not know how hardy it will be in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of the country. 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.
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 - cooked. 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[
The bark is used as a remedy for malaria[
The branches are used to make brooms[
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.