Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Salix spp. (Weide, willow)

Nomenclature etc. SALICACEAE. Salix alba L., S. babylonoica L., S. caprea L., S. cinerea L., S. eleagnos Scop., S. humboldtiana Willd., S. nigra Marsh., S. purpurea L., S. triandra L., S. viminalis L., Salix spp. Trade and local names: Silberweide, Salweide, Korbweid u.a (DE); sauce, s. criollo (ES, sAm); osier, willow (GB, US); osier, saule (FR); salcio, salice (IT); salgeiro, oeirana (BR); vrba bil (CZ); vitpil (SE); fehér füz (HU). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Europe, excl. Mediterranean, Mediterranean incl. N. Africa and Middle East, temperate Asia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, southern Africa, North America, Mexico and Central America, and temperate South America.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically yellow to white or grey. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour, or distinct from heartwood colour. Density 0.35–0.5 g/cm³.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood semi-ring-porous or diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 60–120 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 40–80. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 10–11 µm. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular, restricted to marginal rows. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels present (few), thinwalled.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thin-walled. Average fibre length 830–1000–1300 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal), fine, up to three cells wide.

Rays. Rays 8–15 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate. Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells or mostly 2–4 marginal rows of upright or square cells.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals not observed. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Salix alba. • Tangential section. Salix alba. • Radial section. Salix alba. • Ray-vessel pitting. Salix alba. Ray-vessel pitting restricted to marginal ray cells.


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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