Milan, Illinois
Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Seeds Shipped To Your Door

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Black Willow

Salix nigra


Zone: 4-8

Also known as Black Willow and Marsh Willow. Vigorous growth to 35 ft. Bark is dark brown to black, with yellowish branches. Pale green, 5 inches long leaves spring through fall.  Native to central and eastern United States. Excellent  as  A WETLAND PLANT  for use in bogs, swampy areas, along streams and rivers to prevent soil erosion.  If you have a low, wet area in your yard, this tree will actually "dry up" that area. 

Black Willow is an unusual willow. Of the more than 50 species of  willow inhabiting the US, only four are what you could properly call trees, and of these four, only the Black Willow is a native to the US.  The others coming originally from Europe or Asia.

In addition to its size and floodplain habitat, the Black Willow can be distinguished from other willows by its dark blackish-brown bark, which is what gives it the name of Black Willow. The leaves are typically
shaped willow leaves, between 3 and 6 inches long and between 1/4 and 5/8th of an inch wide. They are a slightly lustrous bright green on the upper surface and a slightly lighter green on the bottom surface.

In colonial times this was the preferred wood for making charcoal for black gunpowder.

Willow also has a number of more traditional uses. The smaller flexible twigs were often used in basketry by both Native Americans and the European colonists. In times of hunger the softer inner bark, the "bast", was dried and ground into a flour. Although very bitter it provided nourishment and a source of vitamins and minerals.

In colonial times the bast was brewed into tea which was considered a specific against malaria and a poor man's alternative to quinine. The tea was also considered a good spring tonic - "good for what ails ya'".
If a measure of how good it is for you is how bad it tastes, then willow bark tea must be one of the most efficacious tonics around.

Modern herbalists cite the glycosides salicin and populin contained in willow bark as a reason for recommending the same bark tea for the reduction of inflammation in joints and membranes, for treating
headaches, fevers, neuralgia, and hay fever. Since the salicin and populin are excreted as aspirin-like compounds they are also considered useful for reducing bladder and urethral irritability.  It is said that before aspirin was available people used to chew willow twigs to relieve a headache.  We do not endorse eating your trees!

Do not plant close to septic tanks or sewer lines as the roots will invade!  If you have a low, wet area in your yard, this tree will actually "dry up" that area. 

2-3' trees. Grown in containers.  Shipped bare root to semi bare root depending on season.

Black Willow  Gallon size     Item Number: 10254


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Item Name: Black Willow Potted liner*  Item Number: 13194


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*A "liner" is a small, potted "starter" plant.  We grow them in 2-1/2 x 2-1/2 x 3" deep liner pots and the plants are shipped in the pot.  Ready to plant out in the final location or into 2 gallon or larger containers.