Pacific Willow Trees, BC Coastal Region
The Pacific Willow Trees are classed as a small tree or shrub. These trees can be found growing on all of Vancouver island. Its most active growth period is in the spring and summer. Leaves fall year to year.
The inner bark was dried, grounded into a powder and then added to cereal for use in making bread. Pacific Willow branches and bark was used for making ropes for nets, tying, and bending. The Islands First Peoples used the bark to make a gray dye for mountain goat wool.
Willows are the source of the natural precursor to aspirin, salicylic acid, found in leaves and bark . The bark can be pounded and applied to wounds as a healing agent . An infusion of the stems has been used in the treatment of stomach complaints. The leaves can be chewed to relieve tooth and headaches.
I used to make whistles from the branches, you could pick a piece of branch that was smooth and by tapping all around the piece, the bark could become loose and you could slip it off. Then you would carve the wood and slid the bark back on. These whistles were remarkable loud.