Salix nigra

black willow, gulf black willow, lindheimer's black willow


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment


Leaf Margin

entire, crenate, denticulate, serrate, serrulate, undulate

Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

linear, oblong, elliptic, lanceolate, oblanceolate

Growth Form


Flower Color


Flower Month

March - April

Height (meters)

26.0 - 36.0

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Leaf Retention


Wetland Class


Wetland Coefficient of Conservatism


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

A medium sized tree with lanceolate leaves having serrate margins (many teeth close together) and are green on both surface. Its twigs in winter are conspicuously red, yellowish or green. The flowers are borne in catkins that are 3-5 cm long by 8-10 mm broad. Similar to Salix caroliniana which has leaves that are silver beneath.

Animal Use

The following information is for the genus Salix: Animals that eat uts twigs and buds: Greater prairie chicken, Animals that eat its bark, buds, and wood: Beaver, Muskrat, Cottontail rabbit, Swamp rabbit, Fox squirrel, Gray squirrel, Red squirrel. Animals that eat its foliage and catkins: Meadow mouse. Animals that eat its twigs and foliage: White-tailed deer (Martin et al. 1951).

Natural History

The Acadian French name for willow is "saule," the standard French name for willow. The black willow is called "sule noir" (Holmes 1990). It is common in wet areas, sand bars, and along bodies of water throughout Louisiana and Texas. In coastal prairie it is found in low areas and where prairies are divided by gallery forests. It occurs throughout the south as far north as Tennessee, and West Virginia. The wood is used in the construction of bent wood or rattan furniture. The bark was used to treat fever and pain and was the original source of aspirin. The acidic nature of the bark usually resulted in stomach upset until a French chemist discovered how to buffer it and patented his aspirin under the trade name "Bufferin".


Along streams and in meadows, ditches, shores, wet places.

Plant Uses

The wood is moderately light to light, moderately soft, very weak, high in shock resistance, low in nail-holding ability, but not easily split while nailing. Willow works well with tools, glues well, and takes and holds stains and finishes well. It has large shrinkage during drying, and is very low in durability. Willow wood is used in boxes and crates, in furniture as core stock, for slack cooperage, and for woodenware and novelties. A specialty use is for artificial limbs. It finds common usages with cottonwood lumber, and the two are sometimes sold mixed at the mill.