Goat Willow Catkins (Photo: Laurie Campbell)
Willows grow particularly well in wet areas, along stream banks and in wet peaty areas. They also grow fast and are often the first trees to appear after an area is fenced off from sheep and other livestock. There are many different species of willow, several of which are found on Harris. Goat, Grey and Eared Willow will grow to several meters in height and are the most common willows found in wooded areas. These are the first trees to come into leaf in the spring and offer important cover for birds. Willows produce lots of tinny fluffy seeds from catkins which are dispersed by the wind in May and June.
Dwarf Willow (Photo: Laurie Campbell)
Dwarf and Creepeing Willow are also found on Harris and grow close to the ground never reaching any height. Dwarf willow is one of our most hardy plants growing on the highest most exposed summits of the Harris hills whilst Creeping willow grows among the heather on the lower moorland slopes.
Creeping Willow (Photo: Laurie Campbell)
The flexible stems of willow branches were used for many purposes in the past including basket making and for gates walls and fences.
By Robin Reid