Goat willow is a perennial tree or a large shrub with large oval leaves with dark green top and grey hairy bottom. Goat willow's stem is often spherical and the bark has vertical strips. Stamen and pistil catkins grows in separate individuals. Blooming time is from April to June after the leaves burst. Goat willow is present in fertile forests, meadows, ditch edges and moist lands. In order to take a tree form, the Goat willow needs medium or high nutrient soil. Prevalence area covers Europe and species is also found in Siberia and Central Asia.
Goat willow is an essential part of Finnish culture. Especially at Easter, children dressed up as small witches wish good luck and health with decorated willow branches. Goat willow can be used to make willow whistles and has been used in traditional medicine to reduce fever and pain due to the salicin it contains.
Goat willow is a typical pioneer tree species. It can benefit from human activity. It favors bright habitats and appears among the first for example in harvesting areas. In addition to the seeds, the goat willow is also efficiently grown from the strains. Goat willows grow fast as young, but growth slows down with the age. Goat willow is an important host tree for many lichen and insect species, increasing the biodiversity of forests. In forest management, tree-like Goat willows are left untouched.
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