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Willow branches in front of a pond

Willows produce a small amount of nectar but it is valuable as an early source of pollen for bees when little other pollen is around. The leaves are very nutritional for livestock especially sheep and cattle and has natural worming properties. Willow leaves are very high in zinc, cobalt and sometimes selenium. Research has also shown a reduction in methane emissions from livestock browsing willow.

The wood is very fast growing and some types of willow (osier) are excellent for basketry and others are good for hurdle making. It’s very pliable and strong. Did you know the Vikings used to make willow ropes to hold their rudders (called a steerboard from which we get the word starboard or the right hand side of the vessel) on to their ships.

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