The name of this tree in Hebrew corresponds to the Arabic safsaf, which is applied to the willow tree. There are two types of willow growing in Israel; one is designated by the botanical term Salix alba, but the most common is the Salix acmophylla.
The Hebrew word occurs only once, at Ezekiel 17:5, where the symbolic “seed of the land,” evidently referring to Zedekiah, is figuratively planted by the king of Babylon as “a willow by vast waters.” The willow trees are found along the banks of rivers and shallow streams and in other moist places, where they sprout quickly from cuttings or slips and grow rapidly. They never attain the height of poplar trees but grow as shrubs or small trees and often form thickets along the watercourses. Their beauty is in their slender long leaves, hanging gracefully from the slender twigs and branches.