”’Scientific Name”’: ”Salix caprea”
”’Also known as”’: Pussy willow, great sallow
”’Habitat”’: Native to Europe and western and central Asia; It is found growing in woodland, hedgerows and scrub, and on damper, more open ground such as near lakes, streams and canals.
”’Description”’: It is a deciduous shrub or small tree, reaching a height of 8–10 m, rarely to 13 m. It can live for 300 years.
* ”’Bark”’ – The bark is grey-brown and develops diamond-shaped fissures with age.
* ”’Twigs”’ – Twigs are hairy at first but become smooth, and can appear red-yellow in sunlight.
* ”’Buds”’ – The greenish-brown rounded hairless buds are only slightly pressed close to the twig.
* ”’Leaves”’ – Unlike most willows, the leaves are oval rather than long and thin; 3–12 cm long and from 2–8 cm wide. They are hairless above, but with a felty coating of fine grey hairs underneath, and have a pointed tip which bends to one side. Catkins appear before the leaves.
* ”’Flowers”’ – Goat willow is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers grow on separate trees, in early spring. Male catkins are grey, stout and oval; 3-7-cm-long, which become yellow when ripe with pollen. Female catkins are longer and green.
* ”’Fruits”’ – once pollinated by wind, female catkins develop into woolly seeds. Most willows can also propagate themselves by lowering their branches to the ground, which then develop roots.
==Pictures throughout the year==
File:20170329183624C.JPG|Catkins in spring
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.
Traditionally willows were used to relieve pain, and the painkiller Asprin is derived from salicin, a compound found in the bark of all Salix species.
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. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers. A distilled water from the flowers is aphrodisiac, cordial and stimulant. It is used externally in the treatment of headaches and ophthalmia. The ashes of the wood are useful in the treatment of haemoptysis. The stems and the leaves are astringent. A gum and the juice of the trees are used to increase visual powers.
Goat willow foliage is eaten by caterpillars of a number of moths, including the sallow kitten, sallow clearwing, dusky clearwing and lunar hornet clearwing. It is also the main food plant for the purple emperor butterfly.
Catkins provide an important early source of pollen and nectar for bees and other insects, and birds use goat willow to forage for caterpillars and other insects.
”’Mythology and symbolism”’
All willows were seen as trees of celebration in biblical times, but this changed over time and today willows are more associated with sadness and mourning. Willow is often referred to in poetry in this way, and is depicted as such in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with Ophelia drowning near a willow tree. In northern areas, willow branches are used instead of palm branches to celebrate Palm Sunday.
”’How we use goat willow”’
Goat willow timber is soft and yellow in colour. Unlike most willows, its brittle twigs are not suitable for weaving, but traditional uses for its wood included clothes pegs, while the foliage was used as a winter feed for cattle. The wood also burns well and makes a good fuel.
The scientific name, and the common name goat willow, probably derive from the first known illustration of the species in Hieronymus Bock’s 1546 Herbal, where the plant is shown being browsed by a goat. The species was historically also widely used as a browse for goats, to which Bock’s illustration may refer.
Goat willow and other broader-leafed species of willow (including grey willow) are sometimes referred to as ‘sallows’. Goat willow is known as ‘great sallow’ and grey willow as ‘common sallow’. Both species are also sometimes called ‘pussy willow’ after the silky grey male flowers, which resemble a cat’s paws.
*Tree & Plant ID Course from Foundation Bushcraft – http://identificationmasterclass.com/
*Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salix_caprea
*Woodland Trust – https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/native-trees/goat-willow/