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Published In: Arbustrum Americanum 140. 1785. (Arbust. Amer.) Name publication detailView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/22/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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7. Salix humilis Marshall (prairie willow)

Pl. 556 g, h; Map 2579

Plants shrubs, 0.5–3.0 m tall, strongly clonal by layering. Stems with the bark roughened, on older stems usually with shallow, irregular fissures, gray to grayish brown. Branches flexible at the base, reddish brown. Branchlets yellowish to reddish or greenish brown, not or only slightly glaucous, moderately to densely velvety- or woolly-hairy, sometimes glabrous in patches with age. Winter buds blunt at the tip, the scale margins fused. Petioles 0.5–7.0(–12.0) mm long, lacking glands, the upper side hairy. Leaves alternate. Stipules minute or well-developed, pointed at the tip. Leaf blades (1–)2–9(–13) cm long, mostly 2–9 times as long as wide, narrowly oblong, narrowly elliptic, elliptic, oblanceolate, obovate or broadly obovate, angled or short-tapered to a bluntly or sharply pointed tip, angled at the base, the margins strongly rolled under (to flat), the edge finely scalloped or wavy to nearly entire, the upper surface glossy, glabrous to sparsely or moderately hairy, especially along the midvein, the undersurface glaucous, moderately to densely pubescent with usually fine, woolly hairs. Catkins flowering before the leaves appear, sessile or on very short flowering branchlets; the bracts 0.8–2.0 mm long, entire, rounded or pointed at the tip, dark brown to black, sparsely to moderately and evenly hairy, persistent at fruiting; the staminate catkins 0.6–3.5 cm long; the pistillate catkins 1–5 cm long. Staminate flowers with 2 stamens, the filaments free, glabrous or hairy; nectary 1. Pistillate flowers with the styles fused to the tip, unbranched, the stigmas 2, linear; nectary 1. Fruits 5–12 mm long, on stalks 1.2–2.0 mm long. 2n=38, 76. March–May.

Scattered nearly throughout the state (eastern U.S. west to North Dakota and Texas; Canada). Upland prairies, bottomland prairies, loess hill prairies, savannas, edges of mesic to dry upland forests, glades, bases, ledges, and tops of bluffs, and less commonly fens and banks of streams and spring branches; also pastures, old fields, roadsides, and open disturbed areas.

This distinctive willow tends to form small thickets in upland habitats. The present treatment follows that of Argus (1986, 2010), who treated S. humilis as comprising two varieties.



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