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Video:How to Identify a Willow Tree

with Meghan Field

Willow trees are some of the easiest types of trees to identify. Here's a video with tips for identifying willow trees.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Identify a Willow Tree

Hi, I'm Meghan Field, an air quality specialist in California with a background in forestry and natural resources. I'm here today for About.com to show you how to identify a willow tree.

Identifying Willow Trees

Willows, or the Salix genus, are very common throughout North America. They thrive in moist soils, so you'll most often find them in riparian areas, especially along creek beds. Two of the most common traits of willow trees are their lance-shaped leaves, and their male and female flowers, which appear as catkins in early spring. In fact, it's this latter feature that makes them dioecious. Taking a closer look at their leaves, you can see that they are larger at the base and become smaller at the tip. They also have a serration along the edges. This leaf here comes from an Arroyo Willow, which is very common in California.

Other Characteristics of Willows

Additional distinguishing features of a willow tree are their bark, which is often quite watery, and the sap they produce, and their slender branches. There are numerous hybrid species of willows due to their cross-fertile nature. The popular weeping willow, for instance, is a hybrid between the Peking willow and the white willow. The leaves from one willow to the next, however, will share that common lance-shape, which predominant to the species.

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