What Is White Willow?

Overview

White willow is a tree that is commonly found in very wet areas, often near rivers and wetlands. This tree is famous for its bark, which has been used to create aspirin and is used as an alternative treatment for pain. This tree is popular because it can survive most hardship relatively well. However, this tree does not do well in droughts.

Identification

The white willow is a large, low-branching tree. The tree has a crown that is round-topped. The tree has alternate buds that have a silky-downy color and are on-fifth of an inch long. The leaves are lanceolate, serrated, smooth on the top, and silky and glossy on the bottom, with a length between 1 and 4 inches and a width of one-quarter to five-eighths of an inch. The flower color ranges from light green to yellowish and produces a fruit that is greenish-yellow. The limbs of the white willow are long and flexible. The bark is brown, sometimes with a yellowish tint, and is ridged and furrowed.

Geography

The white willow has roots that are shallow and spread widely. This means that the white willow will survive the best in areas where the soil gets adequate water. These trees usually thrive along stream beds and in wetlands. During times of extreme flooding, the white willow has an excellent ability to survive. However, this tree does not survive well through droughts. These plants need a great deal of light in order to thrive.

Functions

The white willow has a variety of uses. White willow is used ornamentally because it is aesthetically appealing and also functions as an effective windbreaker. Outside of landscaping purposes, the white willow supports a large variety of wildlife, which depend on it for both cover and food. The white willow has also been used for alternative medicine; the bark of white willow contains salicin, which is a main component of aspirin.

Types

The white willow comes in a variety of types, including the golden willow, redstern willow, Siberian white willow and weeping golden willow. It is closely related to the peachleaf willow and the laurel willow.

Warning

White willow is susceptible to diseases such as cytospora canker and stem decay. Cytospora canker is caused by different types of fungus. The fungus can only attack parts of the tree that are weakened, so keeping the white willow healthy will prevent it from developing cytospora canker.

Keywords: white willow, willow bark, cyptospora canker, alternative treatment

About this Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer for two years. He has a B.S. in Literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written three ebooks so far: Karate You Can Teach Your Kids, Macadamia Growing Handout and The Raw Food Diet.