Sallow is one of the twenty Swedish species of salix. It immigrated 12000 years ago and grows in all of the country except for the far north.The leaves are elliptical, smooth on the upper side and greyish white and downy on the underside. It grows as a 15- 20 meters high tree or a big shrub. The bark on young trees is smooth and greenish, on old ones gray and wide fissured.It prefers sunny positions, is strong growing and seldom older than 30 years. Cold winters are not a problem but it is vulnerable to frosts in spring and fall. In spite of its shallow roots it is fairly storm proof tree. The early blossom is of importance for bees and other insects.
The wood has yellowish white sapwood and reddish heartwood. It is easy to work, soft, resilient, and easy to bend and split.Sallow was mainly used for kitchen utensils and as tool handles as it is soft and gentle to the skin. It is, however, not very durable.Craftsmen likes sallow for bent wood work due both to its pliability and its red color. Straight twigs are good for basketry. Willow masur, burls from and below ground level, is used for knife handles, wooden cups etc.
Today sallow is also used for pulp.
Did you know that:
- The bark can be used in tanning leather.
- In troughs made of sallow the milk gave more cream.
- Sallow protected against deceases and evil powers. Children were bathed in water with sallow bark. We know now that the bark contains salicylic acid.
- Flowering sallow branches were brought to church on Palm Sunday, probably since they resemble palm leaves. Sallow is sometimes called palm tree in Swedish.