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Salicaceae .
The Salicales or willow order of flowering plants, is comprised solely of the Salicaceae family. The Salicaceae family is further divided into two genera, Salix (willow) and Populus (poplar, aspen, cottonwood). The two genera are comprised of around 320 (Salix)and 30 species (Populus). The Salicaceae family are trees and shrubs found predominantly in the Northern Hemisphere. Only one species ( S. tetrasperma ) is native to tropical/subtropical regions. [ 1 ]

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Willow ( Salix )

Shrubs and trees of the genus Salix and Salicaceae family. Generally native to northern temperate regions and commonly used for ornament, shade and timber as well as being the source of salicin (salicylic acid), which is used in pain relievers (aspirin is a derivative of salicylic acid). All species of the salicales family (willow and populus) have catkins, male and female on different trees, and seeds with long, silky hairs. The largest willows are the black ( S. nigra ), the crack, or brittle ( S. fragilis ) and white ( S. alba ) willow, all of which can attain 20 metres (65 feet) or more. Weeping willows refer to those species and hybrids of willow with a 'drooping habit', especially S. babylonica and its varieties from East Asia. [ 1 ]

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Poplar (Populus)

Poplars are common trees in the cooler regions of the Northern Hemisphere and are often used to line avenues or to form windbreaks. Poplar wood is also commercilly important as it is used for plywood, pulp and matches. The soft, white wood of Populus is fabricated into plywood, pulpwood, excelsior, boxes, and matches. As with all other members of the salicales family, Populus catkins are male and female on different trees and their flowers contain no petals or sepals. Populus are generally insect pollinated but certain species are also wind-pollinated. Populus differ from Salix in that the leaves are roughly triangular in shape while Salix leaves are more often linear. [ 1 ]

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[1] The Encyclopaedia Britannica Online : http://www.britannica.com
 

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