Black willow

  • Latin name: Salix nigra Marsh.
  • French name: Saule noir
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 22484
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf with persistent stipules - black willow

Form

  • Narrowly lance-shaped, thin
  • Tip long-pointed, curved back, base rounded
  • Stipules ear-like, persistent

Length

  • 8–14 cm

Colour

  • Upper surface green
  • Lower surface paler
  • Stipules green

Margin

  • Very finely toothed
  • Stipules toothed

Petiole

  • Short, 3–6 mm long
  • Hairy

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - black willow

Form

  • Narrow, conical, sharp-pointed, shiny, pressed against the twig, closely spaced
  • Covered with a single scale
  • No true terminal bud; end bud originates as a lateral bud
  • Flower buds larger than leaf buds
  • Leaf scars V-shaped, with 3 vein scars
  • Stipule scars on either side

Colour

  • Brown to yellowish-brown

Twigs

Form

  • Downy when young, with age becoming hairless
  • Longitudinal ridges run down from the leaf scars
  • Brittle at the base

Colour

  • Light yellow to reddish-brown or purplish-brown, with age becoming grey

Flowers

  • Seed catkin - black willow
  • Pollen catkin - black willow
  • Seed flower - black willow
  • Pollen flower - black willow

Form

  • Catkins erect, on short leafy shoots
  • Bracts blunt-tipped, hairy on the inside

Length

  • Catkins 2–7 cm
  • Bracts 2–3 mm

Colour

  • Bracts yellow

Structure

  • Dioecious

Floral timing

  • Early spring

Fruits

Form

  • Capsules ovoid
  • Hairless

Length

  • 4–5 mm

Colour

  • Light brown

Bark

Form

  • Deeply furrowed into scaly, flat-topped ridges

Colour

  • Very dark, black or dark brown

Size

Height

  • To 12 m

Diameter

  • To 30 cm

Maximum age

  • 70 years

Tree form

Open-grown

Trunk

  • Crooked, often forked

Crown

  • Broad, irregular
  • Branches spreading, often breaking away from the tree

Habitat

Site

  • Moist sites, along stream banks and in swamps

Light tolerance

  • Intolerant of shade

Associated species

  • Red and silver maple, cottonwood, green ash, white elm, other willows

Range

Ontario to the Atlantic coast, and southward to the Gulf of Mexico

Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Distribution map
Distribution map - black willow
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