Medicinal Trees: Willow or Osier (Salix)


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,633 admin

    I didn't know that there was a variety of willow called Osier. I had to look up the definition of the word. Its origin is French, meaning basket willow or withy. Thought to be from old French hosier or hosyere from the original Latin word ausēria meaning willow-bed.

    Here in BC, Osier is in the name Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea aka C. stolonifera). This plant is called Red Willow in most First Nation languages in BC. I learned it as red willow and it wasn't till years later that I found out it was a dogwood.

    My plant atlas lists 54 species of willow growing in BC. Most are native but we also have a few planted species. Identification on many are difficult because of hybridization.

    Its certainly an important plant to harvest and keep on hand. And common enough that you don't have to worry about over harvesting.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,457 admin

    Red osier dogwood is a very interesting plant - it is somewhat narcotic and is usually included in kinnikinnic Native American smoking blends.