Black Willow (Salix nigra)

black willow leaves

Click on the images help you identify an Black willow.

Form

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

Bark

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

Leaf

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".

Range

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.