Q:

Where do diamond willow trees grow?

A:

Salix bebbiana is native to North America, distributed from Newfoundland to Alaska and the Yukon Territory and spreading southward as far as New Mexico, Arizona and central California. S. bebbiana is the most common willow variety that experiences the fungal infections that result in growth formations known as diamond willow.

A fungus infects certain willow varieties, causing the wood to respond by creating diamond-shaped cankers. The result is a patterned wood with diamond-shaped cavities revealing darker heartwood that contrasts with the willow's lighter-colored sapwood. Woodworkers call this diamond willow and value it highly as a raw material for walking sticks and other products. Diamond willow is more prevalent in northern forests, but it has been observed as far south as Missouri.

Other willow varieties that are prone to the fungal infections that cause diamond willow include S. alaxensis, S. arbusculoides, S. discolor, S. pseudomonticola and S. scouleriana. Like S. bebbiana, these willows are all native to North America.


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