Salix fragilis is a tree of the Salicaceae family and genus Salix, commonly known as brittlebush. It is a species that can easily adapt to diverse soil and temperature conditions, with the capacity to spread over wide areas along riverbanks thanks to its vegetative reproduction. Its name is due to the fact that itsbranches detach easily and its status as an invasive plant can have a great economic, environmental, biodiversity and social impact.
Wicker (Salix fragilis)
Origin of Salix fragilis
This species of willow is believed to be native to southern and central Europe, extending from Spain to Latvia, through Belarus to Greece, including western Russia and western Asia or Eurasia represented by Turkey. However, its exact origin is still unknown due to confusion with Salix x Rubens.
Salix fragilis displays a lush, rather thick green crown that often takes on a distinguished look. Often the longest-lived willows have a hairy appearance. This plant can live up to 80 years, reaching a height of approximately 25 meters and a diameter of 15 meters.
Its bark is ribbed, which is accentuated with the passing of the years, and is grayish-brown in color. Occasionally you can see willows with three or more trunks that usually arise from the same point.
Its erect branches are slightly hanging and smooth, light brown with shades ranging from yellow to olive. Its leaves are elongated, narrow, lanceolate, 10 centimeters long and 2 centimeters wide. They are soft and thick, while the young leaves are a little more sensitive and somewhat sticky. The color of its leaves remains green at the beginning of autumn.
It is a dioecious species because the male and female flowers are found on different trees. Its flowers are like its name, fragile and flowering occurs practically together with the foliage. The color is observed between greenish and yellow as a consequence of the enormous amount of stamens. Its flowers are highly sought after by bees.
Salix fragilis multiplies through its entire branches and in this the wind plays an important role, as it easily breaks the branches of the young shoots. When its branches fall on moist soil, they develop their roots and give birth to new trees.
In its wild habitat, large specimens can be seen, the fragility of its branches is useful for gardeners who cultivate it in gardens and reproduction by cuttings is quite simpleSo you can choose a branch, put it directly into the ground and quickly in two weeks it takes root.
At three years of age it can reach a height of 3 to 4 meters, showing a large crown that can measure up to 2.5 meters in width. When it is already five years old, it will reach 10 meters in height and if you have not pruned it yet, its crown can extend up to 8 meters in width.
It is preferable to grow this plant in areas close to water sources such as rivers or freshwater lakes. It grows well in humid regions and during spring rains it tolerates possible flooding, in addition and in relation to sun exposure, it is best in full exposure or partial shade.
It is a species that adapts to almost any type of soil, this can be sandy, clayey, as long as it is fertile. When planting willow in heavy clay soils, it is good to combine it with a layer of sand as little as 30 centimeters thick. What the shoots do require is abundant watering.
Salix fragilis is used in the decoration of both natural and artificial ponds and thanks to its ability to provide good shade, it is planted in parks and gardens to create shady spaces. As it is a honey-producing plant, it is grown near bee hives.
This leafy tree is frequently used in construction work. This is mainly due to its strong wood and the vertiginous growth of the wood pulp. It is also used in the elaboration of handicraft objects.
Because of its known medicinal properties, brittle willow is used in traditional medicine. Its bark and leaves contain tannins, flavonoids, salicin and others. It is used in the treatment of diseases such as rheumatism and osteochondrosis affecting children and young people, infectious states and nervous disorders, digestive hemorrhages and uterine bleeding. It is also used as an anthelmintic, antipyretic, diuretic and choleretic.