Common Name(s): White Willow
Scientific Name: Salix alba
Distribution: Europe and western and central Asia
Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 3-4 ft (1-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 25 lbs/ft3 (400 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .34, .40
Janka Hardness: 570 lbf (2,530 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 8,150 lbf/in2 (56.2 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,125,000 lbf/in2 (7.76 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 3,900 lbf/in2 (26.9 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.2%, Tangential: 7.2%, Volumetric: 11.5%, T/R Ratio: 1.7
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is tan to pinkish brown. The sapwood is yellowish white, and is not always clearly or sharply demarcated from heartwood.
Grain/Texture: White Willow has a straight grain with a fine to medium uniform texture.
Endgrain: Semi-ring-porous (very subtle change in pore size from earlywood to latewood sometimes overlooked as diffuse-porous); medium to large pores in no specific arrangement, moderately numerous to numerous; commonly in radial multiples of 2-3; narrow rays not visible—sometimes even with the aid of hand lens, spacing normal to close; parenchyma banded (marginal).
Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable to perishable, and also susceptible to insect attack.
Workability: With its low density, willow has poor machining characteristics, frequently resulting in fuzzy surfaces. Willow also tends to develop numerous drying defects and can be difficult to season. Glues and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: There have been very few adverse health effects associated with the actual wood of willow (Salix genus), however, the bark and other parts of the tree have been reported as sensitizers. Usually most common reactions simply include skin and respiratory irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: White Willow isn’t seen for sale in the United States because other domestic species, (such as Black Willow), are more readily available. Prices within its natural range are likely to be moderate.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Baskets, utility wood, crates, furniture, cricket bats, carvings, and other small specialty wood items.
Comments: White Willow is so named because the undersides of the leaves are a pale white. Historically, it’s been the wood of choice for cricket bats. Willow is a lightweight hardwood with good shock resistance, but overall is weak for its weight.
Scans/Pictures: There are currently no pictures of this exact wood species, but a similar species within the Salix genus is being substituted (S. nigra). If you’d like to contribute a wood sample of this specific species to be scanned, (even small pieces of veneer can be sent), please use the contact form.