Salix x smithiana
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Salix x smithiana is a Deciduous Tree up to 9.00 metres tall.
It has edible, medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
A hybrid of obscure origin, possible S. caprea x S. viminalis.
Not known in a truly wild situation.
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[
The root system is rather aggressive and can cause problems with drains[
]. It is best not to grow this species within 10 metres of buildings.
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 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.
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. This is a hybrid species and it will not breed true from seed.
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.