NATIVE RANGE: Northern China
DESCRIPTION: Large deciduous tree with drooping branches, long thin serrated leaves, and flowers arranged on catkins.
JEWELRY: Forged bracelets in silver and gold featuring the vein pattern of the delicate leaves
MEDICINE: Records indicate that willow bark was used as a pain reliever as far back as 4000 BCE. The compound that relieves pain and reduces inflammation is called salicin, and it was first isolated in the 19th century. The Bayer company soon figured out how to synthesize it, and named their brand Aspirin.
SCULPTURES: Young willow branches, called saplings, are very flexible and much less prone to breakage than other young tree branches. This is because the tree’s biology allows it to bend and shift with the wind and weight. For this reason willow saplings are often used in large outdoor installation work. Check out this article, Sculpting with Willow Saplings, to see more work done with willow branches.