White willow (Salix alba) is a medium-sized, short-living deciduous tree characterized by its narrow, whitish leaves and pendulous branches. The tree’s widespread distribution includes most of Europe, Asia Minor, North Africa, and central Russia, extending to the western border of China.
The light wood of white willow is used for smaller constructions such as kitchen utensils, canoes, baskets, furniture and carvings. The tree is valued for its use in natural restoration, erosion control and stabilisation of slopes near waterways or in damp areas. The plant can be coppiced and, with its high growth rate, is also suitable for biomass production. Additionally, its ornamental properties are highly valued in landscapes near waterways or ponds.
The white willow mainly grows in temperate climates on spots with abundant light. Its roots need access to water; hence, the willow is usually found in riparian ecosystems. It tolerates a wide variety of soils, but prefers those which are sandy and calcareous. The tree occurs in altitudes up to 2400 m.