Characteristics of the weeping willow
The weeping willow is part of the Salicaceae family which includes about 400 species between shrubs and hardwoods. It is a tall, stocky and short tree, which can reach up to 20 meters in height with lanceolate, toothed and deciduous bright green leaves, arranged in a spiral. The thick, oval-shaped crown has long, flexible, hanging branches that can even reach the ground, while the roots are strong and very long. The male and female flowers are grouped in catkins and appear from the first days of spring. The willow fruits are wrapped in capsules which contain the seeds, the whole provided with a white down. The bark is rich in sap and this characteristic helps the plant to withstand the very humid environments in which it grows.
Growing willows is quite simple, if done in the right environment. This tree grows in sunny areas, has excellent resistance to cold and withstands even the most intense frosts. The willow finds its ideal habitat in deep, poorly drained soils, in fact it grows abundantly in places where water stagnates easily and the soil is constantly soaked. Like most trees, the willow must also be fertilized at the time of grafting and every 2 or 3 years, but always at the beginning of autumn or at the end of winter. It is important to avoid planting the willow too close to dwellings because, over time, its roots, which are naturally very long, can reach the plant’s pipes and cause considerable damage.The weeping willow, like most Salicacae, often harbors various species of ants and wood moths. The trunk of this plant, in fact, is quite fragile, which allows it to be easily attacked by pests. These episodes usually occur in early spring, which is when it is easier than if the Lepidoptera larvae settle. Symptoms of pest attack are recognized by the usually lush willow beginning to shed its foliage without any obvious cause. In addition, the plant is often attacked by rust, caused by Melampsora, a type of fungus that frequently attacks many plants. The leaves are covered with dust and reddish spots and it is advisable to prevent the problem by using specific copper-based products or certain fungicides.
Willow, in the specific variety of Salix Babylonica, was used by primitive man for the construction of traps or fishing rods. Today it is used to make baskets, chairs, hats and many ornamental objects, precisely because its branches are long, flexible and very resistant. The weeping willow, however, is a plant best known for its healing properties, which were well known as far back as ancient Egypt. The bark and leaves of these plants were indeed used as a remedy against the flu, fever and rheumatism. Willow, in fact, contains a high concentration of salicic acid, which has an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic action. Thanks to this principle, in 1897,