weeping willow
[ Healthy Living ][ Nature Lovers ]

Pussy Willow, Weeping Willow, And So Much More

Disclaimer: This post is for entertainment purposes only. The views and opinions in this article are those of the author. Please seek professional medical care before attempting any homeopathic remedies. 

Table of Contents

 Wondrous Willow Trees

Willow trees have not only been capturing our imagination for hundreds of years, but they have been used in carving, craft, and even medicine. 

And why not?

With over 400 varieties, found primarily in the northern hemisphere in moist cool or temperate climates, it is easily one of the most well known trees. 

The willow (also known as sallows and osiers) come in a wide variety of shapes, heights, and colors. 

And not all weep, but all are awesome. 

Let’s highlight a few.

The Pussy Willow 

pussy willow

Also known in some varieties as the goat willow, this beautiful shrub (and sometimes tree) is one of the first plants to flower in the spring. 

The fuzzy flowers are known as catkins, due their resemblance to a kittens furry paw, are one of the features that people love best. 

The stems of the pussy willow are used both fresh and dry in decorations and crafts. If using the fresh stems in a floral arrangement they will sprout roots in the water, giving you an opportunity to grow an abundance of pussy willow shrubs. 

After the catkins give way to leaves is the time to cut this baby down to size. You can trim it down between six to twelve inches in height. 

Sounds extreme, I know, but it will grow back quickly. 

The Weeping Willow

weeping willow by water

This is what I picture in my mind when I think of willow trees. 

These varities can grow as high as 90 ft with it’s long limbs reaching toward the ground and swaying in the breeze. 

While we all love to watch that gentle dance, the many thin limbs can be prone to breaking in a strong wind or storm, littering the ground. 

Beautiful and picturesque by a lake or river, this is not a long lived tree and will need to be replaced about every thirty years or so. 

Strange to think you can outlive a tree, or even a couple of them. 

The Tricolored Willow

dappled willow

Also known as the dappled willow, or japanese dappled willow, or several other names. This beautiful willow tree has leaves that start pink, then fade to white or green. 

Native to Japan, Eastern China, and Russia it propagates easily, like many willows, and is a beautiful addition to rain gardens. 

As a bonus its bark turns a beautiful red during the winter making it decorative year round. 

Arts and Crafts and More

willow sculpture

Willow trees have been used in a variety of arts and crafts for many centuries. 

Their long stems are very pliable once soaked in water and have been used in basket weaving, wreaths, and even light weight furniture or wicker. 

There are many large modern sculptures that use this bendy material in creating art that is inspiring, interesting, and even playful.

Many varieties are suitable for carving adding to its versatility and decorative uses, as well as some functional uses. 

Though it’s tricky to find examples of willow wood carvings due to the brand Willow Tree. However it’s not impossible and there are even some videos on how to carve, or whittle, willow wood. 

But it’s more than sculptures and furniture,  people have been inspired to photograph, paint, and even write stories, prose, and verse about willow trees. 

A quick search will pop up a wide variety of poems about willows and how people relate to them in their many emotions. 

These amazing creations have inspired people throughout the ages, and with such colorful variety and whimsical shapes is it any wonder? 

Medicinal Uses

All willow trees have some medicinal uses, think aspirin. 

Though the amount of salicin (aspirin compound) in the bark may vary making some willow trees, like weeping and pussy willows, more desirable for homeopathic medicine than others. 

According to one herbalist site, if you choose to gather willow bark you want to ensure three things. 

One: that it is growing in an uncontaminated area. Remember that where your tree grows matters and any contaminants, like pesticides, will make it into the bark. 

Two: That it has a slight smell of wintergreen.

Three: That it has a nice bitter aspirin flavor with a kick of tart vitamin C. 

While there are many herbalist sites and recipes on how to make your own tinctures, it’s best to do your own research and talk with a certified medicinal herbalist before venturing into homeopathic or homemade pain relievers. 

In recent studies some researchers have discovered that the humble willow may have anti-cancer compounds in it’s leaves and stems. 

This exciting new discovery makes this tree even more wondrous than it already was. 

Quick Caution

Aside from the possible risks of making one’s own medicine (consult a pro), there is also danger in where you may want to plant your willow tree. 

All willows love water. While some are slightly drought tolerant, most grow in wet conditions such as in bogs, marshes, near river beds, and by lakes. 

So if you plant one in your yard anywhere near a water main or sewer line it’s root’s will seek out the water and they have been known to break through pipes, causing extensive damage. 

But if you have no intention of actually planting one on your property then no worries. They grow wild in many parts of the world. 

How I love a Good Willow

I have always been fascinated by willow trees, especially a weeping willow. I’ve written short stories in my youth where the main character was named Willow, the movie Willow being a childhood favorite and inspiration, I’ll admit.

Even the word has a flow to it that is almost magical. There’s a mystical quality to willow trees that is enamoring and comforting. 

Let us know what your favorite willow variety is. Comment or drop a picture below. 

Resources
Willow- Wild Foods
Willow Wikipedia
Famous Willow Tree Poems
Discover Poetry Willow Tree Poems
Pinterest Willow Tree Crafts
Pussy Willow
Exciting Anitcancer Compound discovered in the Humble Willow

About Author

Jenn Gaskin

After more than a decade in education I decided to turn my copious skills to writing. I have been freelance writing for Dancing Tree Gifts (formerly Sonora Kay Creations) since 2019. I wear many hats with DTG primarily copy editor, author, and web design.