Leaves, long-petioled, finely toothed, narrow, 3 to 4 inches long, very soft and silky, especially when young. Catkins, sessile, with a few leafy bracts at their base, about 1 inch long, turning black or dark brown when dried.

Young twigs red or purplish, 5 to 12 feet tall, in swamps and near streams from Maine to North Carolina, westward to Michigan.

Other members of this Family might be listed as small trees or shrubs, but they are more or less localized as along the slopes of certain mountains. Many are plants of the arctic regions, very few being found in tropical countries. Willow-trees of the temperate regions sometimes attain large size and live a long time. They grow mostly in wet places, and are of use in holding the soil of sloping river-banks together, also for forming wind-breaks. Osier willows are used for baskets and wicker-work. It is said that Alexander Pope planted the first willow in England, by taking a twig which was in a box of figs from the Levant and thrusting it into the ground.