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Published In: Arbustrum Americanum 139–140. 1785. (Arbust. Amer.) Name publication detailView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/22/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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9. Salix nigra Marshall (black willow)

Pl. 556 d–f; Map 2581

Plants medium to large trees, 5–20(–30) m tall, not producing suckers but occasionally clonal by stem fragmentation. Trunks with the bark becoming deeply furrowed, variously light grayish brown to black. Branches brittle at the base, reddish brown to yellowish brown. Branchlets grayish to reddish brown, not glaucous, glabrous or sparsely hairy, rarely moderately to densely hairy. Winter buds sharply pointed at the tip, the scale margins free and overlapping along the side facing the stem. Leaves alternate. Petioles (2–)3–10(–15) mm long, with a pair of glandular dots at the tip, the upper side sometimes hairy. Stipules usually well-developed, at least on shoots produced later in the season, rounded or more commonly pointed at the tip. Leaf blades (5–)7–12(–19) cm long, mostly 6–13 times as long as wide, narrowly elliptic, narrowly lanceolate, or linear, occasionally lanceolate or elliptic, tapered to a sharply pointed tip, angled at the base, the margins flat, finely toothed, the upper surface shiny, glabrous to sparsely hairy, the undersurface not glaucous, sparsely hairy. Catkins flowering as the leaves appear, on distinct, leafy, flowering branchlets; the bracts 1–3 mm long, entire, rounded or pointed at the tip, tawny, sparsely and evenly hairy, those of the pistillate catkins not persistent at fruiting; the staminate catkins 3.5–8.0 cm long; the pistillate catkins 2.5–7.0 cm long. Staminate flowers with 4–6 stamens, the filaments free or occasionally fused at the base, hairy near the base; nectaries 2, free or fused into a cup-shaped structure. Pistillate flowers with the style fused to the tip, unbranched, the stigmas 2, short; nectary 1. Fruits 3–5 mm long, on stalks 0.5–1.5 mm long. 2n=38. April–May.

Scattered to common throughout the state (eastern U.S. west to Minnesota, Kansas, and Texas; Canada, Mexico). Banks of streams, rivers, and spring branches, margins of ponds, lakes, oxbows, and sinkhole ponds, sloughs, bottomland forests, swamps, marshes, and bases of bluffs; also ditches, bases of levees, railroads, roadsides, and moist disturbed areas.

This is the commonest willow in Missouri. Although it grows in a variety of different wetlands, it is most commonly found in muddy soils associated with still waters. Salix nigra hybridizes with S. amygdaloides where the two species grow in proximity. Such hybrids have been called S. ×glatfelteri C.K. Schneid. (not a validly published name). Glatfelter (1898) also reported the uncommon hybrid between S. caroliniana and S. nigra from trees that he studied in the St. Louis area, but these specimens have been redetermined as S. caroliniana.



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