Skip to main content

White willow (Salix alba)

White willow Description: Used in the production of gun powder and tanning leather. Also used for its medicinal properties.

Habit: Perennial tree to 80 ft; widely spreading crown; yellowish-brown twigs; grayish-brown, irregularly furrowed bark.

Leaves: Alternate, simple, lanceolate to narrow ovate, 2-4 inches long, finely serrated, shiny green above, nearly white and silky below.

Stems: Very slender; smooth or slightly downy; yellowish brown (golden); flexible; buds are small, appressed and covered by a single, cap-like scale; terminal buds lacking.

Flowers: Dioecious, males and females appear as upright, yellowish, fuzzy catkins; 1 1/2 to 2 in long, appearing before or with the leaves.

Fruit and seeds: 1-2 in long cluster of valve-like, light brown capsules; contains many fine, cottony seeds; ripen in late spring to early summer.

Habitat: Native to Europe, North Africa and central Asia. Grows well in moist soils and can be found along lakeshores and stream banks.

Reproduction: Vegetatively.

Similar species: Peachleaf Willow (Salix amygdaloides); Laurel Willow (Salix pentandra).

Monitoring and rapid response: Hand pull small seedlings; use machinery to remove larger trees and root systems in dry areas; effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosate.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the USDA PLANTS Database and Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation VTree.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

White willow

Scientific Name:

Salix alba







USDA Symbol: