Black willow (Salix nigra)

black willow leaves

Click on the images help you identify an Black willow.



Small to medium tree. 30'-60' tall; broad, irregular crown; trunk, often twisted and leaning, up to 30" diameter.


Grayish-brown to brownish-black, fibrous, deeply furrowed with slightly scaly ridges.


Alternate, simple 3"-6" long, 1/2" - 3/4" wide; finely toothed margins, shiny green on both sides; light yellow in autumn; short leafstalk, often with conspicuous leaf-like appendages (stipulates) at base.

Fruit (seed)

Capsules containing numerous seeds grouped in a dense, elongated clusters know as "catkins".


Native, southeastern and east-central Minnesota; hardy to Zone 4a.

Wood uses

Light brown, soft, weak, flexible, coarse-grained; thin, whitish sapwood; used for fuel, erosion control, ornamental plantings, windbreaks, baseball bats, and charcoal; large good tree with straight grain are used in the manufacture of artificial limbs.

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