Riparian Plants: Goodding's Black Willow - Salix gooddingii
Black willow is one of the most common willows in riparian plant communities in the Central Valley. On intermediate floodplains in mixed riparian forests, black willows are often as dominant as cottonwoods. Black willow must reach the water table with its roots, and can tolerate long duration flooding. It is tolerant of heavy clay soils and is often found on the perimeter of permanent wetlands and in seasonal wetland basins. Black willow can tolerate moderate periods of drought as well and can stump sprout if the top of the plant dies. Black willow is not shade tolerant so if it can not access adequate sunlight in a mixed riparian forest it will not thrive.
Black willow forms a tall and often narrow tree, typically 6 to 16 meters tall. Black willow has multiple, lateral branches that typically extend the length of the tree, creating nesting locations at multiple heights, including the overstory and midstory. The bark is rough and dark. The leaves and seeds of black willow attract insects and provide food for wildlife. Like other willows, the stems are preferred browsing for deer and beaver.
For more information about the ecological tolerances and structure of riparian plants, see Gaines 1977, Conard and others 1977, Holstein 1984, Sacchi and Price 1988, Faber and Holland 1996, Cooper and others 1999, Vaghti 2003, Fremier and Talley 2009, and Vaghti and others 2009.
Goodding's Fremont Cottonwood dimensions
Black willow and cottonwood forest
10 year black willow in winter