The white willow is a medium-sized tree that reaches a height of between 15 and 25 metres. The long leaves are glossy dark green above and covered with soft, silvery hairs on the underside. The trunk has grey-brown, deeply fissured bark. The young annual shoots are silky, pale grey or yellow, long and slender and often hanging. The male catkins are yellow, while the female ones are not as dense and are green at first becoming white when full of seeds.
The white willow is found mainly on river banks, by canals, in woods in humid climates, and on higher ground alongside streams. It can be found throughout most of Europe.