Additional notes (click to expand)


The species is named after Paul Guillaume Farges (1844–1912), a French missionary and plant collector. Little is known about him, but as he worked in a hospital (albeit as the almoner) at the end of his life, he has been included. He came to China in 1867 with the Missions Étrangères, stationed in the mountainous area of T’chen-keou-tin in the sub-prefecture of Ch’eng k’ou t’ing (Cheng-kou) in north-east Szechuan and worked in a practical manner, organising relief for the miserably poor inhabitants of the area. In 1892, around Cheng-kou, until 1903 he botanised extensively, sending herbarium specimens back to the botanist Adrien René Franchet (1834–1900) at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. By 1896 he had sent back 2,000 specimens, many from the mountains at 1,200–2,500 metres and above. By the time he left Cheng-kou, he had collected 4,000 herbarium specimens. He sent seeds back to the nursery of de Vilmorin in France, including 37 seeds of the handkerchief tree, Davidia involucrata – possibly bringing these back himself. Davidia involucrata seeds take 18 months to germinate, and they were thought to be dead until one germinated in 1899, coming into flower in 1906. The nursery of James Veitch in England was so excited by this tree that they sent EH Wilson (1876–1930) to collect more seed. Wilson’s success, and Messrs Veitch’s happiness, can be measured in that 13,000 plants were raised from the seed he sent back, but the distinction of having introduced the tree to Europe remains with Farges. The area where he worked, especially Ta-pa-shan, was very rich in trees and shrubs and some of the best rhododendrons in cultivation in Europe, Rhododendron discolor, R. fargesii and R. sutchuense, were found by him. He moved to Chogqing in 1903, became almoner to the hospital and gave up collecting. He died there in 1912. Some 80 plants have been named after him, including the willow, Salix fargesii, which we also grow in the Medicinal Garden in the expectation that, like European willows, its bark contains salicylates, the basis for aspirin (Cox, 1945; Bretschneider, 1898).
Oakeley, Dr. Henry. (2012). Doctors in the Medicinal Garden. Plants named after physicians. Royal College of Physicians. link


Medicinal uses [Ed note: of Salicaceae in general] Uses supported by clinical data Used orally for the symptomatic treatment of fever and pain, and symptomatic treatment of mild rheumatic conditions (14–20). Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents Used orally for the treatment of the common cold (1). Uses described in traditional medicine Used orally for the treatment of constipation and urinary incontinence. Used externally for the treatment of warts (5).
From WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Vol 4 2005, WHO Geneva

Contraindications Cortex Salicis is contraindicated in cases of hypersensitivity or allergy to the plant material or to salicylates (e.g. asthma, bronchial spasm, rhinitis or urticaria). It is also contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation, in patients with salicylate intolerance and patients with impaired thrombocyte function (7, 27), and in children under the age of 12 years (7).
From WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Vol 4 2005, WHO Geneva

Inhibitor of cyclooxygenase and thromboxane production. Contain salicylic acid from which acetyl salicylic acid, Aspirin, was synthesised. Painkiller, anti-inflammatory, inhibits platelet clotting and reduces fevers.
Oakeley, Dr. H.F. (2013). Medicines from RCP plants label list 5-2013.docx.

Geographical distribution

  • Asia-Temperate, China


Salix fargesii

Genus: Salix
Species: fargesii
Habit: Shrub
Hardiness: H5 - Hardy; cold winter
Garden status: Not currently grown

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