Willow may not be a part of the aromatherapist’s tool box but it is an important plant in my life and historically an important medicinal plant. Salix, the generic name for the willow species is the clue. Salicylic Acid is the precursor of Asprin, the first of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to be produced. Prior to that people would chew the bitter tasting willow bark or alternatively take a tea made with feverfew shich also contains salicylic acid.
The picture above shows willow being planted around the bee hives on the Trumpington Allotment site. This now provides a screen which encourages the bees to fly upwards when leaving the hives rather than across vegetable plots at head height. It also provides a wind break, protecting the hives from being blown over and allowing the bees to get out just a little more than they might if the hives were in the open.
It also gives the bees some early pollen and nectar helping them to build up their numbers ready for the main nectar flow. Willow and other early flowering trees are an important part of the life cycle of a honey bee colony and I am sure that some of the other willow plantings in the area which are much more substantial than the living hedge we have planted will make a substantial difference to the ten colonies on the allotment site and the many others I know of in the area.