Swamp Willow Live Stakes also known as Salix nigra
Native to eastern North America and hardy to zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11, the swamp willow lives up to its name and is found growing abundantly in wet and swampy areas. It’s botanical name, Salix nigra, also tells us that it has dark brown to black bark and that it grows quite rapidly in spring (Salix is Latin and means leaping). The deciduous tree also matures rapidly, reaching on average 35-100 ft (10 -30 m) tall by around 30 years.
Swamp Willow Live Stakes would make a great gift for someone expecting a new-born baby, to watch the tree grow with the child.
It prefers full sun to partly shady areas and thrives, as indicated by its common name and wide spreading, shallow root system, in wet to moist soils, but it will also tolerate dry soil. It’s dark brown/black, rigid bark starts out smooth and fissures and becomes more textured with age. The trunks grow wide and often forks near the base resulting in the poetic “weeping” shape as the branches grow heavy. Shoots vary in color and are thin and brittle at the base, making them easy to break off.
Swamp Willow Live Stakes is dioecious, the appearance of blooms depend on the sex of the tree.
It’s leaves are long, thin and taper-pointed and dark green on both sides, although sometimes lighter underneath. They turn lemon yellow in fall. This magnificent tree will bring a touch of whimsy to any landscape and will also bring plenty of wildlife including the yellow-bellied sapsucker, a type of woodpecker that loves the sap of the willow. Many other birds are similarly attracted, as well as deer that love to eat its leaves. Willow trees are ancient, dating back to the Cretaceous period and have many uses in addition to their aesthetic attributes. The indigenous people of North America used them to treat fevers, night sweats, headaches and many other ailments. In fact, Salicin the active component of the willow bark used in these treatments has been synthesized into the salicylic acid found in Aspirin and skin care treatments we use today. Its other uses include wood production and erosion and flood control in agriculture.