Many of you know Willows, there's Weeping Willow, Corkscrew Willow, Pussy Willow, and some gorgeous Willow shrubs with variegated foliage. I found there are also Black Willows and White Willow. Black Willow, Salix nigra, is a native tree, White Willow, Salix alba, are not native. Since we live in an rather untamed area, I believe what I have growing in the ditches and along the stream beds is S. nigra. After doing a lot of research, checking on the trees, rereading the information, I am not 100% sure.
The bark is grey to dark brown, with deep ridges. As you can see the fall color is a dirty yellow. We are in the beginnings of our fall color changes.
Black Willow is the only commercially important harvested willow lumber. It is lightweight and straight grained, takes stain well, and shock resistant. It does not splinter easily and at one time it was used for artificial limbs.
Ancient uses of the willow bark include bark and leaves in the relief of rheumatism. A chemical component in the bark is the natural glucoside, salicin, which is the building block to our present day aspirin. Amazing isn't it? To make gunpowder Black Willow's charcoal was once used.
It is a fast growing tree that can reach its maturity in as little as 30 years. A mature tree is on average about 60- 70 feet tall, though it can reach heights of 135 feet in great growing conditions. The shallow roots are laterally extensive. Pay note to where septic and sewer lines run.
It is a spring flowering tree, dioecious, two households, male flowering trees and female flowering trees. The white cottony puffs help spread the seeds once they have ripened and are ready to germinate.
The last few photos are of a Weeping Willow, Salix babylonica, another non-native, along the shoreline of the Hudson River. The S. babylonica is a native of China.
I was happy to gather some nice pictures of the cottony seeds and the deeply furrowed bark on a mature tree. You can see cotton tuffs all over the ground on the above photo. Here is a nice close up.
References-- VATech dendrology, Forestry Service, and the Vanderbilt site listed above.
©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.