Black willow (Salix nigra) is the most important of the many willows that grow in the United States. It is the only willow marketed under its own name. Most black willow comes from the Mississippi Valley, from Louisiana to southern Missouri and Illinois.
The heartwood of black willow is grayish brown or light reddish brown and frequently contains darker streaks. The sapwood is whitish to creamy yellow. The wood is uniform in texture, with somewhat interlocked grain, and light in weight. It has exceedingly low strength as a beam or post, is moderately soft, and is moderately high in shock resistance. It has moderately high shrinkage.
Black willow is principally cut into lumber. Small amounts are used for slack cooperage, veneer, excelsior, charcoal, pulpwood, artificial limbs, and fence posts. The lumber is remanufactured principally into boxes, pallets, crates, caskets, and furniture.
*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.