|Amwell Nature reserve, Herts - yesterday|
This is a general introduction to Willow of which there are a huge number of species, running into the hundreds. Both trees and shrubs make up the genus Salix. They are some of my favorite trees as they are often incredibly aesthetically pleasing as well as multi purpose in usage. Possibly the two most famous uses for willow are in the making of aspirin and cricket bats (lets not forget wicker weaving). Willow is incredibly rich in salicylic acid, which is the constituent element of aspirin. If you take a willow shoot and chew on it you’ll notice the same taste as that which an aspirin gives if it comes into contact with your tongue before you swallow it. Cricket bats are predominantly made from White Willow, which grows long and straight. Willow will usually be found near damp lowlands often by rivers etc. Generally if Willow is growing it’s a very good indication that there’s a good source of water present. Goat Willow is a notable exception to this rule and is often found in woods where there may not be an abundance of water. The Shrubs and climbers are usually found more northerly and on uplands. As this year continues I’ll be trying to identify individual species of Willow around London.