This nice patch of black willow shrubs was on the way to see something else. The something else didn't pan; out another willow that wasn't what I thought. Black willow is safe. This is often seen as a shrub, but it is the largest of our native willows. It can sometimes get more than a hundred feet tall, and thirty feet around at the base. Black willow provided wood, weaving material and medicine to Native Americans and pioneers. It contains a chemical close to aspirin, and is a legitimate pain relief. Black willow mostly grows near water in AL, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, MB, NB, ON, and QC. Lenawee Co MI, 5/20/12. Willow family, Salicaceae.