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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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12. Salix sericea Marshall (silky willow)

S. sericea f. glabra E.J. Palmer & Steyerm.

Pl. 556 q, r; Map 2584

Plants shrubs or less commonly small trees, 0.5–4.0 m tall, usually not suckering but sometimes clonal by stem fragmentation. Trunks with the bark somewhat roughened or on older trees becoming finely furrowed, greenish brown to grayish brown or gray. Branches brittle at the base, grayish brown to dark purple. Branchlets dark reddish brown to dark purple, sometimes mottled with yellowish brown, not glaucous, sparsely to densely velvety-hairy. Winter buds blunt at the tip, the scale margins fused. Leaves alternate. Petioles 3.5–12.0(–21.0) mm long, sometimes with a pair of glandular dots at the tip, the upper side hairy. Stipules minute or absent. Leaf blades (5–)7–10(–13) cm long, mostly 5–11 times as long as wide, narrowly oblong-lanceolate to narrowly elliptic or narrowly oblong-elliptic, angled or tapered to a sharply pointed tip, angled at the base, the margins flat, finely toothed, the upper surface dull, sparsely hairy, often becoming glabrous or nearly so at maturity, glaucous (this sometimes obscured by pubescence), densely pubescent with short, silky hairs (especially when young). Catkins flowering before the leaves appear or occasionally just as the leaves begin to appear, sessile or on very short flowering branchlets; the bracts 0.8–1.5 mm long, entire, rounded at the tip, dark brown to black, sparsely and evenly hairy, persistent at fruiting; the staminate catkins 1.5–4.0 cm long; the pistillate catkins 1.8–4.5 cm long. Staminate flowers with 2 stamens, the filaments free or fused toward the base, glabrous or hairy toward the base; nectary 1. Pistillate flowers with the styles fused to about the midpoint or to the tip, unbranched or 2-branched, the stigmas 2, cylindric; nectary 1. Fruits 2.5–4.0 mm long, on stalks 0.6–1.5 mm long. March–May.

Scattered in the southeastern quarter of the state, north locally to Ralls and Scotland Counties (eastern [mostly northeastern] U.S. west to Iowa and Arkansas; Canada). Banks of streams, rivers, and spring branches, margins of ponds and lakes, bottomland forests, swamps, and fens; also roadsides.

Steyermark (1963) noted that in Missouri this species tends to form densely rounded shrubs and that the grayish silvery leaf undersurfaces contrast nicely with the dark reddish brown to dark purple branchlets. He considered the species to be a member of the relictual flora persisting somewhat disjunctly in cool microclimates in Missouri from a generally broader distribution during Pleistocene glaciation. Argus (1986) remarked that specimens of S. sericea with mature foliage sometimes are misdetermined as S. eriocephala. For a discussion of hybridization between S. sericea and S. eriocephala, see the treatment of that species.



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