aegyptiaca = Egyptian Willow
Musk Willow or Persian Willow
The National Arboretum generously gave me cuttings of this amazing species several years ago. It is a unique Salix in that it has both male and female organs in the same catkin. I have only seen this phenomenon in 3-4 other Willows and they were all hybrid willows. (Prof George Argus told me that he had only seen this in hybrid willows!
It is a fast growing small tree or a large bush if coppiced (this is the best way to get the most catkins.) It has red branches that are tomentose in the first two years and leaves up to 15 centimeters long. The natural range of the species is in the Caucasus and in Western Asia.
I have been told by a Middle East native that this is widely grown thoughout that region for its medicinal and flavoring qualities. It is also used to make a non-alcoholic drink called Musk that is said to strengthen the neural system, good for heart invigoration and heart health, Cardiotonic, stimulant, gastric, tranquilizer, improves neural problems, aphrodisiac, anti headache depression, neural aches and rheumatism, decreases fever and strengthens the body and is blood-making. Among other properties of this product, it is said to stimulating the appetite among those people who suffer from poor appetite. It is also beneficial for the expulsion of the intestinal parasites. To be taken as a beverage with sugar and water every time.
of Michael Dodge
Photos and text to come