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Alphabetical List of Tree Common Names Alphabetical List of Tree Scientific Names Identification Key Mystery Tree

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Willows (Salix)

 

  • Leaves tend to be narrow and pointed (although some are fatter and more rounded); they are generally yellow-green on top and white below. Simple, alternate, and deciduous, with a short stalk.
  • Fruit is a tiny dark seed surrounded by a cottony tuft.
  • Winter buds hug the twig and are covered by a single caplike scale 
  • Yellow to green twigs have no true terminal bud; during winter, twigs just die back to where the wood is hard enough to withstand the cold temperatures.

 


As a group, willows are easy to identify - in fact, pussy willows are one of the first trees that many of us learn.  But distinguishing between different types of willows, is a different story.The reason is that there are so many willows - North America has approximately 90 different types - and that many of the species interbreed, with the offspring having characteristics of both parents.  As a result, most people are satisfied knowing that a tree is a willow, and leave it at that.

Oregon's Tree-Sized Willows:

  • Scouler (mountain) willow -probably the most common willow in western North America.  It not only grows at low elevations but ascends higher mountains.  In western Oregon it often reaches 40' tall.  Unlike other willows it thrives away from water.
  • Pacific (black) willow - a black-barked tree or large shrub found around wet places. Often 40'-60' tall, and abundant west of the Cascades at low and moderate elevations. Identification is aided by two or more tiny nodules at the base of each leaf blade. 
  • Peachleaf willow - seen along streams and around farm homes in extreme northern and eastern Oregon.  Largest willow east of Cascades; grows to 70' tall.
  • Hooker willow -  a beach willow found the full length of the Northwest coast, and seldom more than 5 miles from salt water.  Its location and wide leaf improve chances of identification.  Grows along streams and on swampy ground, near sea level.
  • Northwest willow - sometimes called sandbar willow.  Has long, narrow leaves, even ten times as long as wide.  Occurs in western Oregon south to the Klamath Mountains.
  • Sitka willow -  grows mainly west of the Cascades, with scattered occurrences in eastern Oregon, especially in Wallowas.  Also called silky willow because of satiny hairs on the undersides of its leaves.  Some leaves have a pear-shape outline.

 


For more information on the willows native to the Pacific Northwest see "Trees to Know in Oregon".


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