Black Willow

=Habitat and Range.=--In low grounds, along streams or ponds, river


New Brunswick to western Ontario.

New England,--occasional throughout, frequent along the larger streams.

South to Florida; west to Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Indian

territory, Louisiana, Texas, southern California, and south into


=Habit.=--A large sh
ub or small tree, 25-40 feet high and 10-15 inches

in trunk diameter, attaining great size in the Ohio and Mississippi

valleys and the valley of the lower Colorado; trunk short, surmounted by

an irregular, open, often roundish head, with stout, spreading branches,

slender branchlets, and twigs brittle towards their base.

S. nigra, var. falcata, Pursh., covers about the same range as the

type and differs chiefly in its narrower, falcate leaves.

=Bark.=--Trunk rough, in young trees light brown, in old trees

dark-colored or nearly black, deeply and irregularly ridged, separated

on the surface into thick, plate-like scales; branchlets reddish-brown;

twigs bronze olive.

=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds narrowly conical, acute. Leaves simple,

alternate, appearing much later than those of S. discolor, 2-5 inches

long, somewhat pubescent on both sides when young, when mature green and

smooth above, paler and sometimes pubescent along the veins beneath;

outline narrowly lanceolate, finely serrate; apex acute or acuminate,

often curved; base acutish to rounded or slightly heart-shaped; petiole

short, usually pubescent; stipules large and persistent, or small and

soon falling.

=Inflorescence.=--April to May. Appearing with the leaves from the axils

of the short, lateral shoots, in catkins, sterile and fertile on

different trees, stalked,--sterile spreading, narrowly cylindrical;

calyx none; corolla none; bracts entire, rounded to oblong, villous,

ciliate; stamens about 5: fertile catkins spreading; calyx none; corolla

none; bracts ovate to narrowly oblong, acute, villous; ovary

short-stalked, with two small glands at its base, ovate-conical,

sometimes obovate, smooth; stigmas 2, short.

=Fruit.=--Fertile catkins drooping: capsules ovate-conical,

short-stemmed, minutely granular; style very short: seeds numerous.

=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy in New England; grows rapidly in all

soils, particularly useful in very wet situations; seriously affected by

insects; occasionally offered in nurseries; transplanted readily;

propagated from cuttings.

1. Winter buds.

2. Branch with sterile catkins.

3. Sterile flower, side view.

4. Sterile flower, front view.

5. Branch with fertile catkins.

6. Fertile flower, side view.

7. Fertile flower, front view.

8. Fruiting branch.

9. Fruit enlarged.

=Salix fragilis and Salix alba.=

The fragilis and alba group of genus Salix gives rise to puzzling

questions of determination and nomenclature. Pure fragilis and pure

alba are perfectly distinct plants, fragilis occasional, locally

rather common, and alba rather rare within the limits of the United

States. Each species has varieties; the two species hybridize with each

other and with native species, and the hybrids themselves have varietal

forms. This group affords a tempting field for the manufacture of

species and varieties, about most of which so little is known that any

attempt to assign a definite range would be necessarily imperfect and

misleading. The range as given below in either species simply points out

the limits within which any one of the various forms of that species

appears to be spontaneous.

=Salix fragilis, L.=