Black Willow

Salix nigra

Noble Foundation Plant Image Gallery

Black Willow is seen as a shrub and as a large tree, up to 100 feet tall. This tree often has multiple trunks, with many branches coming from each.

Black Willows are found along streams, in marshes, or places where they can get sun.

Black Willow leaves are narrow and lance-shaped (long and skinny). They are shiny green on top, and pale green below. Leaves are three to five inches long and may have very fine teeth.

Black Willow bark is dark brown or black with ridges.

Copyright, Dr. Donald Farrar and Anna Gardner

Noble Foundation Plant Image Gallery

Trees of Alabama and the Southeast, Photographer: Mike Hogan

Black Willow flowers are called catkins. They are yellow and one to three inches long. Fruit is a small capsule, turning reddish-brown. It contains tiny, hairy green seeds.

OPLIN

Black Willows are often found with the following trees: American Sycamore, Sweetgum, American Elm, Eastern Cottonwood, and Red Maple.

They are a food source for White-tailed Deer, rabbits, small rodents, and Beaver which eat the bark, stems and twigs. Black Willow nectar is consumed by bees, butterflies and other insects. Leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of many species of butterflies and moths.

Black Willow supplies cover for many birds and small mammals, and cavities for creatures such as woodpeckers, raccoons, and others.

This is a good pioneer plant, one of the first to take over a field.

Black Willows depend on bees, butterflies, and other insects to help pollinate them. Seeds are also spread by wind and water.

Trees of Alabama and the Southeast, Photographer: Mike Hogan

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants

OTHER

White-tailed Deer

Pileated Woodpecker

American Sycamore

Honey Bee Po

Beaver

White-tailed Deer

Sweetgum

Golden Northern Bumble Bee Po

Eastern Cottontail

Raccoon

American Elm

Mourning Cloak Pa

Mourning Cloak

Black Rat Snake

Red Maple

Red-spotted Purple Pa

Red-spotted Purple

Wood Duck

Wild Grape

Poison Ivy Pa

Honey Bee

Black Carpenter Ant

Poison Ivy

Virginia Creeper Pa

European Gypsy Moth

Honey Bee

Virginia Creeper

Wild Grape Pa

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth

Barred Owl

Silver Maple

Oyster Mushroom Pa

Golden Northern Bumble Bee

Beaver

Common Reed

Artist's Conk Pa

Luna Moth

Green Darner

Switchgrass

Oystershell Scale Pa

Muskrat

Luna Moth

Evergreen Blackberry

Dogwood Borer Pa

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Big Brown Bat

Lizard's Tail

Buffalo Treehopper Pa

Giant Willow Aphid

Bluegill

Buttonbush

Eastern Subterranean Termite

Largemouth Bass

Arrow Arum

Polyphemus Moth

Mourning Cloak

Kentucky Bluegrass

Oystershell Scale

Muskrat

Bigtooth Aspen

Dogwood Borer

Virginia Opossum

River Birch

Buffalo Treehopper

Crane Fly

Wild Rice

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Northern Caddis Fly

Relationship to Humans:

Black Willow is the only tree in the willow family that has found many uses by people. Lumber, furniture, cabinets, doors, boxes, barrels, and toys are some of the products we use Black Willow for. It is also planted as a shade tree and used along shores to stop erosion. This tree helps with pollution too! Its roots will intercept nutrients running off from farm fields before they get into the water.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Plant
DIVISION
Magnoliophyta
CLASS
Magnoliopsida
ORDER
Salicales
FAMILY
Salicaceae
GENUS
Salix
SPECIES
Salix nigra

QUICK LINKS

Organism Menu
Home
Glossary
Student Activities
Relationships
Classification Info
How to Use This Site
Bibliography