Salicaceae (Willow) Family
The Willow family is not very large as plant families go; about 350 species in the Salix genera. North America has 35 native and five naturalized tree species and some 55-60 native shrub species. Those most familiar to the Escambia region are: Eastern Cottonwood, occasionally Swamp Cottonwood, Weeping Willow, Coastal Plain Willow, Sandbar Willow, Florida Willow, and Black Willow.
Sandbar Willow is also known as Black Willow. Swamp Willow ,and Goodding Willow. When left undisturbed it becomes a large tree with one or more straight, but leaning trunks, upright branches and narrow or irregular crown. Its preferred habitat is wet soils of stream banks, lakes, ponds and flood plains, often forming pure stands. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The leaves are long and narrow, lance-like, often slightly curved to one side; long-pointed, finely saw-toothed, hairless or nearly so. The color is shiny green above and pale below.
The flowers are catkins, with yellow hairy scales, appearing at the end of old and new leaf twigs in early spring.
Fruit is a series of reddish-brown capsules.
This is one of the largest New World Willows, having the most extensive range across the country. The tree wood has numerous uses including millwork, furniture, doors, cabinetworks, barrels, toys and pulpwood. In colonial times it was the source of charcoal for making gunpowder.