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Willows

Common and Scientific Names

Willow belongs to the Family Salicaceae.


Willow is the common name
of the pla
nt Salix exigua.

The scientific name for
willow is
Salix exigua.

Salix in Latin means willow,
and exigua is Latin for short-leaf.


What Do Willows Look Like?

Salix exigua grows in thick stands anywhere there is
sufficient water. Its slender,
flexible branches are graceful
and covered with long,
lanceolate-shaped, narrow

leaves. The leaves are
soft and have a slight
silvery, gray appearance
on the underside.

The flower is the catkin,
which comes in the spring
with the new growth of leaves.


Where Are Willows Found?

Willows are common on the banks of streams, creeks,
rivers, and along lake shores in Idaho.

Willow Cordage

Although dogbane and milkweed produced the finest cordage,
small willow branches, called withes, could also be used as
cordage. Willows were gathered in the late fall, or during
the wintertime for making into cordage. Cordage made from
willow withes or bark resulted in a rope-like product,
rather than string. The bark of the willow is easily stripped
and twisted into strong rope.

Fishing weirs made from willows were lashed together with willow bark cordage. Fish were driven downstream into baskets lashed to the weir.