black willow
Salix nigra

Secondary Names:

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A large tree usually growing to 50 feet tall, but can reach 100 feet, with one or more trunks to 3 feet in diameter and an upright branching habit. In winter the reddish-brown or golden twigs are conspicuous.

Range/Site Description:

Occurs throughout Texas, along streams, in wet areas, and on riverbanks, frequently in groups or thickets.


Simple, alternate, 3" to 6" long and 0.5" to 0.75" wide, linear-lanceolate in shape, leaf margin finely-toothed; leaves are bright green on both sides, turning pale yellow in the fall.


Male and female flowers are borne on separate trees in the spring as catkins, 1" to 3" long.


A long, cylindrical string of capsules, 3" to 4" long, each containing numerous small seeds with long silky hairs which enable them to be blown long distances.


Light brown, gray, or black, developing broad plates that separate from the trunk and give it a somewhat shaggy appearance.


Wood is soft, light, and not strong. A high grade of charcoal, used in the manufacture of gunpowder, is obtained from willow wood, and it is also used in manufacture of artificial limbs.

Similar Species:

Weeping willow (Salix babylonica) has long branchlets that droop to the ground and is often planted near wet areas.

Interesting Facts:

Willow bark was used by native peoples and early settlers as a headache remedy because it contains salicylic acid, the active ingredient of aspirin.

Back   Print results