Agriculture: Willows produce a modest amount of nectar that bees can make honey from, and are especially valued as a source of early pollen for bees. Poor people at one time often ate willow catkins that had been cooked to form a mash.
Energy: Willow is grown for biomass or biofuel, in energy forestry systems, as a consequence of its high energy in-energy out ratio, large carbon mitigation potential and fast growth. Large scale projects to support willow as an energy crop are already at commercial scale in Sweden, and in other countries, others are being developed through initiatives such as the Willow Biomass Project in the US and the Energy Coppice Project in the UK.Willow may also be grown to produce Charcoal.
Environment: As a plant, willow is used for biofiltration, constructed wetlands, ecological wastewater treatment systems, hedges, land reclamation, landscaping, phytoremediation, streambank stabilisation (bioengineering), slope stabilisation, soil erosion control, shelterbelt and windbreak, soil building, soil reclamation, tree bog compost toilet and wildlife habitat.
Art: Willow is used to make charcoal (for drawing) and in living sculptures. Living sculptures are created from live willow rods planted in the ground and woven into shapes such as domes and tunnels. Willow stems are used to weave baskets and three-dimensional sculptures, such as animals and figures. Willow stems are also used to create garden features, such as decorative panel and obelisks.
Religion: Willow is one of the "Four Species" used ritually during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. In Buddhism, a willow branch is one of the chief attributes of Kwan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion. Willow is also one of the "nine sacred trees" mentioned in Wicca and witchcraft, with several magical uses. In the Wiccan Rede, it is described as growing by water, guiding the dead to "The Summerland", a commonly used term in Wicca to refer to the afterlife. Christian churches in northwestern Europe often used willow branches in place of palms in the ceremonies on Palm Sunday.
Culture: In China, some people carry willow branches with them on the day of their Tomb Sweeping or Qingming Festival. Willow branches are also put up on gates and/or front doors, which they believe help ward off the evil spirits that wander on Qingming. Legend states that on Qingming Festival, the ruler of Hades allows the spirits of the dead to return to earth. Since their presence may not always be welcome, willow branches keep them away. In traditional pictures of the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin, she is often shown seated on a rock with a willow branch in a vase of water at her side. The Goddess employs this mysterious water and the branch for putting demons to flight. Taoist witches also use a small carving made from willow wood for communicating with the spirits of the dead. The image is sent to the nether world, where the disembodied spirit is deemed to enter it, and give the desired information to surviving relatives on its return. The willow is a famous subject in many East Asian nations' cultures, particularly in pen and ink paintings from China and Japan.
A gisaeng (Korean geisha) named Hongrang, who lived in the middle of the Joseon Dynasty, wrote the poem "By the willow in the rain in the evening", which she gave to her parting lover (Choi Gyeong-chang). Hongrang wrote:
"...I will be the willow on your bedside."
In Japanese tradition, the willow is associated with ghosts. It is popularly supposed that a ghost will appear where a willow grows. Willow trees are also quite prevalent in folklore and myths. In English folklore, a willow tree is believed to be quite sinister, capable of uprooting itself and stalking travellers. The Viminal hill, one of the Seven Hills Of Rome, derives it name from the Latin word for osier, viminia (pl.).
I just like the soft green feathery look of them.
Thank you to wikipedia for all the information.
Critiques | Translate
ourania (36442) 2012-05-06 7:33
this picture has an eerily calm atmosphere that doesn't relax you really but keeps you alert. I admit that I made this thought after reading your note about the legends and believe that landscapes and atmospheres like this easily give birth to such fascinating stories. Maybe the sky is too bright and large and somehow distracts our attention. The light was difficult but you've managed it well and brought out the great variation of greens, the diverse textures and above all the eerie moody atmosphere in a very effective way. Well done and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely week,