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Weed Identification

black willow



Scientific Name

Salix nigra

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Salix denudata
Salix purshiana
Salix falcata
Salix ludoviciana
Salix ambigua
Salix dubia
Salix flavovirens
Salix ligustrina


Black willow grows to be a small to medium sized tree. It can grow up to 50 feet in height and one foot in diameter. It is often found near bodies of water with many of its branches hanging over the water.


The leaves of black willow are lanceolate in shape, and 3 to 6 inches long. The edges are serrated and the leaves are pinnately veined. The leaves are dark green and shiny on the top, and light green on the bottom.

Identifying Characteristics

Black willow is distinguished by its long, thin, finely toothed, pointed leaves.

Flower Seed Head

The flowers of black willow are small and are borne on catkins. The catkins are one to three inches long. The actual flowers are tiny and green. They are present from May to June.

Seed Fruit

The fruit of black willow is cone shaped. It contains many small, cottony seeds. The capsules split on maturity, from June to July.

Where Found

Black willow is found throughout the eastern United States, as far west as Nebraska and Texas.

Growth Habit

woody bush or tree

Thorns or Spines

not present

Approximate Flower Diameter


Dominant Flower Color


Flower Symmetry

bilateral symmetry

Leaf Hairs

no hairs
has hairs

Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Margin


Leaf Structure


Leaf Stalk

shorter than leaf

Stem Hairs

no hairs

Stem Cross Section

round or oval

Milky Sap

not present

Life Cycle



not present

Plant Type