The Carolina Willow takes two forms, a branching shrub and a small tree. While shrubs grow low and dense, trees can reach thirty feet in height. Like most willows, its long (2 ½” to 5 ½”), narrow (½” to 1 ¼”), spear-shaped leaves sprout palm-like from alternate sides of a slender branch. Native throughout Florida and along the Atlantic Coast as far as North Carolina, Carolina Willows prefer the damp edges of wetlands like swamps, streams, even retention ponds. The species has profited from artificially stabilized water levels to the point that it is considered a nuisance in some areas. In the past, spring floods drowned saplings below the high water level. Absent that control on population, thickets of willows can inundate banks, choke streams, and prevent access to waterways.
Common names: Swamp Willow, Coastal Plain Willow
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