Salicaceae
The Willow Family
 
 
    The willow family consists of 4 genera and about 200 species of plants, the majority of which are scattered through the cooler regions of the Northern Hemisphere.  Willows, cottonwoods or poplars, and aspens are included in this family.  The trees of this family are used for timber and as ornamentals.
 
 

 Click on the links below for introductions to some of the trees of this family:
 
eastern cottonwood
Carolina willow
 
 
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Populus deltoides
eastern cottonwood, eastern poplar
 
 

Habit

    The eastern cottonwood is a medium-sized tree, 50-100 feet in height, 3-4 feet in diameter.  It has an irregular, open, spreading crown.  Grown in the open, the trunk usually divides near the ground into several massive limbs to form a broad, rounded crown, 80-100 feet in diameter.
 

Leaves

    Leaves are simple, alternate, and deciduous.  The leaves are 3-5 inches long, 3-5 inches wide, triangular, with an acute apex.  Leaf bases are heart-shaped.  Leaf margins are coarsely serrate.  Leaf surfaces are light green above, paler and glabrous below.  Petioles are smooth and flattened.
 

Flowers
 
    The flowers are unisexual and dioecious.
 

Fruit
 
    Fruit is a green, conical capsule, about 1/4 inch long, on few-fruited stalks, 8-12 inches long. 
 

Twigs

    The twigs are yellowish-brown and stout.  The pith is star-shaped and homogeneous.
 

Bark

    The bark is yellowish-green, smooth, and thin at first, becoming thick, gray, and deeply furrowed between broad, flattened ridges on the largest trunks.
 

Habitat

    The eastern cottonwood inhabits moist alluvial soils along streams, near lakes, and on rich, moist bottomlands.  It is found from southern Quebec and Ontario west to Montana; south to Texas in the west; through western Massachusetts, south to Florida in the east.
 

Use

    In the plains states, this tree has been found to be a suitable windbreak.  For many years, it was a favored street and shade tree, but its roots entered and clogged sewers and legislation against its use resulted in several places.
 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
 
More
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 

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Salix caroliniana
Carolina willow, coastal plain willow
 
 

Habit

    The Carolina willow is a small tree, 25-35 feet in height, 1-2 feet in diameter.
 

Leaves

    Leaves are simple, alternate, and deciduous.  The leaves are variable in size, elliptical-shaped, with a tapering acute apex.  Leaf bases are round or wedge-shaped.  Leaf margins are usually irregularly toothed.  Leaf surfaces are glossy green and glabrous above, dull, grayish-blue below, sometimes with pubescence on the midrib.  Petioles are about 1/4 inch long.
 

Flowers
 
    The flowers are unisexual and dioecious.
 

Fruit
 
    Fruit is a capsule, about 1/4 inch long, on stalks. 
 

Twigs

    The twigs are dull reddish-brown, grayish, or bright light brown and stout.  The pith is homogeneous.
 

Bark

    The bark is grayish-brown, divided into broad ridges whose surfaces are scaly.
 

Habitat

    The Carolina willow inhabits marshes, river banks, swales, pond and lake shores, commonly in association with black willow.  It is found from Maryland, west to southern Indiana, southern Illinois, Missouri, and eastern Kansas; south to southern Florida and south central Texas; also found in Cuba.
 

Use

    The wood of this tree is used in making toys, charcoal, and furniture.
 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 

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