black willow
Salix nigra

Black willow occurs widely across the eastern U.S. and is commonly found on moist sites. Black willow wood is light and is used for a variety of wood products. Black willow's easy propagation, dense root system, and rapid growth are exploited for the stabilization of soils adjacent to water bodies.

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Light Fall Color Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Black willow is used for boxes, crates, doors, cabinets, furniture, turnery, slack cooperage, wooden novelites, polo balls, charcoal, and pulp.


Wildlife Value
      The buds and catkins are eaten by birds. Deer eat the twigs and leaves. Rodents eat the bark and buds.
          Attracts: deer, yellow-bellied sapsucker, various other birds, rodents

Regeneration methods
      Black willow is very shade intolerant. Clearcutting or other methods maximizing light availability are required for regeneration.

Important Problems Early Detection tips
willow blight blackened leaves; branch dieback

Fun facts
Black willow is a valuable soil conservation tree that is often planted to hold streambanks. For years extracts of willow bark were known to reduce fevers and alleivate pain. In 1829 the compound salicin was isolated from willow. This discovery led to the use salicylic acid as the basic ingredient in aspirin.
Salix: Latin name or Celtic "sal" (near) and "lis" (water) / nigra: black
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2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.

questions, comments, and criticisms: email John.Peterson@vt.edu