The emblem of lost love and grief, largely seen as unlucky - the poor mans friend - but even he would avoid using it for firewood. The only contradiction appears to be that presenting someone with a piece of willow on a morning in may would bring good luck.
The Willow tree has long been associated with grief, hence the name ‘Weeping Willow’ perhaps not only being given for its bowed appearance. It has also been associated with lovers that have been spurned or rejected. If this were the case, it was thought that to wear a sprig of the Willow tree would remove the pain, as all feelings of loss would be taken away by the tree.
The Greek goddess ‘Hera’ was believed to have been born under a Willow tree in the Island of Samos
‘R. Rapin’s’ poem tells of the origin of the Willow (and Alder);
‘De Hortorum Cultura’
‘Of watery race Alders and Willows spread
O’er silver brooks their melancholy shade,
Which heretofore (thus tales have been believed)
Were two poor men, who by their fishing lived;
Till on a day when Pales’ feast was held,
And all the town with pious mirth was filled,
This impious pair alone her rites despised,
Pursued their care, till she their crime chastised:
While from the banks they gazed upon the flood,
The angry goddess fixed them where they stood,
Transformed to sets, and just examples made
To such as slight devotion for their trade.
At length, well watered by the bounteous stream
They gained a root, and spreading trees became;
Yet pale their leaves, as conscious how they fell,
Which croaking frogs with vile reproaches tell.’
The smallest tree known to exist anywhere in the world is the Willow, ‘Salix herbacea’. It can be found growing on high ground in Great Britain (UK). It measures approximately 5-7 cm only in height.