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Common Name:

Black Willow

Scientific Name:

Salix nigra

Family Name:



Black Willow is one of North America's most widely distributed trees. Black Willow is a large deciduous, often leaning trunk, tree with linear to narrowly lanceolate leaves. It is typically found along water courses and in wet areas. Its rapid growth is accompanied by weak wood. The root system is extremely invasive and often clogs pipes and drains. The taxon can be useful for naturalizing near water features and for erosion control.

Plant Habit or Use:

Tree, medium tree, large tree



Flower Color:

Creamy yellow to yellow-green, mildly interesting

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Capsules, not ornamental


30 ft to 50 ft in landscapes, rarely 100 ft+


25 ft to 40 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: High Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Low Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

A highly adaptable plant that can become a serious weed problem in landscape settings.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.