The willow tree, native to North America, is a deciduous flowering tree that grows near bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers. This tree is used as a resource for several different practices, such as art, religion and medicine. Due to their curved shapes, willow branches are commonly used for making baskets. The willow tree is considered sacred in the Wicca religion. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the bark on willow trees is used to relieve inflammation and reduce headaches.
The height of willow trees ranges from 20 to 65 feet, depending on the species. Smaller species include corkscrew, goat and laurel-leaved willows, which have heights of 20 to 40 feet, while larger species, such as weeping and white willows, grow from 50 to 65 feet. Willow trees need full sunlight for growth and prefer well-drained soil, but will grow in poorly drained soil as well. These type of trees are deciduous, which means its leaves fall in the winter and return in the spring.
Willow trees are dioecious, meaning they have separate male and female sexual organs. Both sexes grow on the same tree, in different parts. The male flowers are called staminate flowers and they feature stamens and a nectariferous gland. The pistillate flowers, or the female flowers, have a one-celled ovary. The flowers are catkins, a cluster of flowers with a cylindrical shape, and have no petals. Usually, the flower catkins on willow trees have a yellow or white coloration.
The leaves on willows usually have an oval shape, but their texture, coloration and length are dependent on the species. Some willow leaves, such as peach-leaf and weeping willows, have white-colored undersides, while black willows are dark green on both sides of their leaves. The edges of leaves are slightly serrated. The leaves on willow trees are attached to drooping branches.
The wood on willow trees is brittle and are highly susceptible to wind damage or cankerous diseases. Many of the branches on trees sloop downward toward the ground. Different willow species have varying colorations on the bark and branches. Weeping willows have a bright yellow color, while white willow branches turn red in the winter. Also, the shape of willow branches varies, with the corkscrew tree have spiral-twisted branches.
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