Tree Species of the World's Boreal Forests

Herbs, Shrubs and Other Plants

Terminology | Pictorial

Salix nigra
Black Willow
Salicaceae (Willow Family)

A large tree with one or more trunks, upright branches, and a narrow, irregular crown; growing to a height of 18 - 30 m and a diameter of 0.5 - 0.8 m.

Black Willow Description

Distinguishing Features - Leaves: 7.5 - 13 cm long; narrowly lance-shaped, usually curved to one side; long-pointed and finely-toothed, with little or no hair; shiny green above, paler underneath. Bark: dark brown to blackish; deeply grooved with scaly, forking ridges. Branchlets: brownish; slender. Flowers: borne on catkins 2.5 - 7.5 cm long, with hairy yellowish scales; appearing in spring. Fruit: 5 mm long; reddish-brown, hairless capsules; maturing early summer.


Near the boreal range, in New Brunswick, Quebec and southern Ontario; Minnesota; broadly distributed throughout the U.S.; in wet soil conditions, along streams and lakes; flood plains; often in pure stands.


The Black Willow is the largest North American willow. The wood is used for millwork, furniture, doors and cabinets; also pulpwood.

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