Friday's Flowers - Planting for Pollinators
There are over 400 types of willow. Some are trees and others are considered shrubs. Willow wood is known for crafts, toys, musical instruments to name just a few . It has even been used in a fishing net made from willow dating back to 8300 BC. Willow has also been used in medicine, aspirin for one, by native Americans, Egyptians and ancient Greece.
For our purposes of encouraging pollinators , Willows produce a modest amount of nectar from which bees can make honey, and are especially valued as a source of early pollen for bees. (Poor people at one time often ate willow catkins that had been cooked to form a mash). It is used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, such as the mourning cloak butterfly.
|Milantina / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)|
Willows range in colors from bluish to light yellowy greens. They are among the first to leaf out and can be the last to loose their leaves.
They are easily cultivated from cuttings but this can make them a problem in some areas. Roots may be too binding or , as in Australia, a type of willow is considered invasive.
Do your homework on whether this lovely tree would be a good fit for your pollinator playground!