willow



willow defined in 1944 year

willow - Willow;
willow - (Genus: Salix L.; Salicacea.) G. Weide; F. Saule; W. Helygen; E. Saileac; A.-S. Welig; Scots, Saugh. Sallow, Osier, Palmtree, Pussy Willow.

The genus Salix comprises trees, shrubs and dwarf shrubs or creepers of widely varying habits, but all agreeing closely in certain characteristics. The leaf-buds, spirally placed on the thin and extremely pliant twigs, are oval in shape, narrowing to a point at the tip, and are covered by a single scale. The leaves are simple and unlobed, varying in outline from long narrow lance-shaped forms to oval. The male and female flowers appear in catkins before or with the leaves on separate trees and are of simple construction, petals and sepals being absent.

The male flowers are more or less conspicuous, with golden anthers, the stamens being few or many to each scale. Nectar is often present, and pollination is effected by wind or insects. The female flowers, less conspicuous, consist simply of a single carpel, of greenish hue. On ripening in June, the seed pods release very many minute seeds, winged with cottony down.

The seeds are spread by wind and germinate as soon as they find the right conditions on the ground; they keep their germinative power for a short time only. The minute seedling has epigeal cotyledons, oval in shape, and early growth is rapid. Willows are seldom propagated by seed, as it is difficult to handle, and may produce hybrid forms. Cuttings are used instead.

Except for certain dwarf species, which frequent heaths, the willows require a fresh soil of alluvial character, with abundant moisture, preferably moving. Their favourite haunt is the stream- side.

The species of willows may be identified, by the expert, only by a minute analysis of floral structure, leaf shape, and habit.

As male and female flowers are borne on different trees, and both appear before the leaves, the problem of isolating species from their hybrids, bristles with difficulties.

Since reproduction is always effected by vegetative means, the forester can be sure of getting the strain of willow he wants by seeing the trees from which cuttings are taken. At the same time he must bear in mind the possibility of its being less suited to the soil at its new station.

The principal varieties met with may be best described with reference to their especial uses.

Timber willows. Several willows assume tree form, but the only species of timber dimensions are the Crack Willow (Salix fragilis L.) with smooth leaves and stalked catkins, and the White Willow (Salix alba L,.), which has silky leaves and sessile catkins. These features are only true of the types as hybrids between them, intermediate forms, and varieties of them are common.

Both are erect riverside trees, up to 80 feet in height, with light green, graceful foliage, and fibrous, vertically fissured, bark. The catkins appear with the leaves in April. They are light-demanding, frost-hardy, very-rapid growers, and will thrive wherever rich soil and abundant moisture is available, even in towns. Their distribution is somewhat local, and they are seldom found under woodland conditions, but they should succeed well on suitable sites if widely spaced, as with poplars. Girths up to 24 feet occur.

Willow wood is white in colour, light in weight, and tough, with a high resistance to splintering. This is well shown by the rough usage it receives as cricketsbats. As veneer, it is employed in the making of chip baskets and in screens. Other uses are as rims for sieves, brake blocks for carts, and in artificial limbs. Its rather unusual qualities appear to be insufficiently utilised. It combines lightness with an attractive appearance, toughness and pliability. It is not durable out 06 doors, and makes a poor firewood.

The cricket bat Willow is a special strain of Salix alba, var. carulea Sm., and it must be grown under specially favourable conditions to get the rapid growth which gives the highest degree of toughness. It requires special pruning also, but as it matures very rapidly, in about 15 years, and as single treeĀ§ are worth several pounds apiece, its cultivation justifies expert attention.

Pollard Willows. In many counties of England, the streams are lined at regular intervals with pollarded willows of the above and similar species. The roots of these help to hold up the banks, and the tops, being cut off about 8 feet from the ground, throw up a crop of pollard shoots which is cut at intervals of 2 to 5 years, for sale or use on the farm in hurdles, hedging work, or rough basketry. The young shoots are above the reach of gracing cattle and the pollard trunks, which increase only very slowly in girth, persist indefinitely.

Osier Willows. The twigs of the willow are the standard material for basket-making in Britain, and the species grown for this purpose are generally known as osiers, especially the true Osier (Salix vimtnalis, L.) its beautiful variety, the Golden Osier, and the Purple Osier (Salix purpurea, L.) all with very long and narrow leaves. These are cultivated as a coppice crop in fen or riverside districts, where beds are established on islands Or river banks. After establishment, the shoots may be cut annually; the beds must be weeded to some extent, and rabbits, if present, kept in check. Fig. 7.

Osier growing was unprofitable for many years owing to foreign Competition, but deserves encouragement owing to the indispensable nature of basketware for domestic and industrial purposes. It is usually regarded as a farming operation, but might well be combined with forestry in suitable localities. In the forest nursery, osiers are useful for tying up the bundles of-young trees.

Goat Willows. Salix caprea L. and allied species have broad elliptical leaves and conspicuous " pussy willow " flowers which are gathered as " palm " before the leaves open in early spring. They are usually encountered by the forester as shrubby weeds of wet places, of no practical utility. If, however, a frost-tender tree species such as Sitka Spruce, is to be established where the Goat Willows are growing, these should be carefully preserved as overhead shelter, and lightly thinned out to allow the young trees to find their way through them. Fig. 5.

Ornamental Willows. Certain willows are grown for the beauty of their habit, foliage, or coloured twigs, such as the Violet Willow {Salix dapbnoides, Vill.), and the Golden Willow (S. alba, var. vitellina, L.). The Weeping Willow (S. babylonica L.) is a small tree of most gracefid habit, introduced from China. Most willows grow well under town conditions, the Goat Willows being particularly vigorous. Fig. 8.

pictures for willow

winter buds of broadleaved trees winter buds of broadleaved trees. >>>>

leaf forms leaf forms. >>>>

willows willows. >>>>

osier osier. >>>>

goat willow goat willow. >>>>

ash, beech and willow ash, beech and willow. >>>>

osiers osiers. >>>>

weeping willow weeping willow. >>>>


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