This carving, pictured to the right, was developed using wood from an Arroyo Willow and a pocketknife.
Notice the smoothly curved, but natural edges to give the feeling of interlocking branches. Howard B. Taylor took great care and time to make sure that this carving would not only show off the beauty of the natural wood grain but could also be functional as a rock stand. The three separate “branches” were carved around each other so they could move and yet still create enough stability to hold a heavy rock.
No higher than 30 feet tall
A one-story house averages 10 feet tall. An Arroyo Willow does not grow taller than a three-story house.
Ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches in diameter
A standard business card is 3.5 inches wide.
Aspirin was first derived from the willow
Hormones derived from willows are often used in nurseries to help other plant cuttings take root.
The tree is also known as white willow. It’s technical name is Salix lasiolepis. Although it is usually a thicket-forming shrub with clustered stems, it can sometimes be a small tree with rough branches and has a narrow, irregular crown. Its height is seldom above 30 feet and its diameter 2.5 to 4 inches wide. The thick, leathery leaves are without teeth or slightly wavy with few teeth. They are a dark green color and hairless above and the underneath is generally hairy and whitish.
The bark is pale gray-growth with whitish areas. It becomes darker and rougher with furrows into the broad ridges with age. The flowers are called catkins and they are 1-2 inches long. The fruit is reddish brown, 1/4 inch long, and formed in capsules.
The habitat is in valley foothills and mountains in wet soils along streams, arroyos, or gullies. They range from Washington and Idaho south to southern California and New Mexico. They are found also in New Mexico to 7500 feet.
Willows have a talent for propagating from vegetative tissue and thus growing from cuttings. They’re so good at it that hormones derived from willows are often used in nurseries to help other plant cuttings take root. Another useful chemical first derived from the willow is Aspirin.