Skip to content

Goat Willow – Salix caprea

Salix caprea

Goat WillowGoat Willow

Common name: Goat Willow
Latin name: Salix caprea
Other names: Pussy Willow, Great Sallow
Family: Salicaceae
Habitat: Goat Willow is native to Europe and western and central Asia.
Description: Goat Willow is a deciduous shrub or small tree, growing up to 12 meters in height. Leaves are oval and alternate, green and hairy, having smooth hairs on the upper side, and dense white hairs below. Leaf stalks are 8 to 25 mm long, with small, ear-shaped stipules where they join stem. Flowers are soft and silky, silver catkins, produced in early spring (during March and April). Male catkins are densely hairy, with black scales and yellow anthers, while female are green in color, longer and thinner. Fruit is a small capsule 5-10 mm long with numerous, tiny seeds embedded in cotton-like hairs.
Parts used: Bark
Useful components: Tannins and salicin
Medicinal use: Goat Willow has a very long history of use. It had been mentioned in ancient Egyptian and Sumerian texts, usually as a remedy against fevers and aches. It was also mentioned by Hippocrates, ancient Greek physician, as a powerful medicinal herb. Its active substance, salicin, is responsible for the plant’s medicinal properties. When taken internally, salicin converts to salicylic acid (the precursor of aspirin). Therefore, Goat Willow is an effective remedy for fevers, headaches, digestive disturbances and rheumatic pains. When used externally, it can be very helpful as a disinfectant and astringent in treatments of cuts and sores.
Safety: Some herbs could react with certain medication. Therefore it is advisable to contact your doctor/herbalist before consumption of any herb.

Next herb: Goldenrod

Previous herb: Glossy Buckthorn