The Willow is 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. The branches and bark were 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.
The tree is 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. Chewing the leaves daily will help prevent heart attacks.