Willows do not only belong to the oldest agricultural crops of mankind, but can be used particularly also by children in many ways. Its robust growth, the pronounced ability to grow back after a substantial trim cut and of course the flexibility of the branches make it an interesting, natural building material.
The plant genus willow (Salix) comprises about 450 different species world-wide, which can be differentiated sometimes only with difficulty from each other. Native to Central Europe there are at least about 40 species, but often they hybridize with each other, thus form natural hybrids. In practice therefore only stature groups are differentiated.
The Purple willow (Salix purpurea), which is similar to the Basket willow (Salix viminalis) can also be used for weaving. Both types grow tree-like and can be used as osier with short trunk and numerous young branches in every year if cut back regularly.