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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

21. Salicaceae, the Willow Family

2. Salix L. -- Willow

3. Salix bebbiana Sarg. -- Beaked willow


Shrub to 4 m tall; twigs grayish-brown, closely pubescent to eventually glabrous, gnarled and rough in appearance owing to jutting leaf scars, irregular growth and die back; branchlets spreading, yellowish-brown to dark brown, tomentulose, occasionally glabrate toward the base. Leaves dull grayish-green and glabrous to pubescent above, pale to gray-pubescent and rugose beneath, with the veins raised prominently on the lower surface (except smooth beneath in var. perrostrata), elliptic to narrowly ovate or narrowly obovate, acute to short-acuminate, cuneate at the base, mostly 3-6 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, entire to shallowly toothed; petioles glandless, 5-10(15) mm long; stipules deciduous or persistent on vigorous shoots, ovate to reniform, 2-6 mm long, 1-3 mm wide, shallowly dentate. Catkins emerging and maturing with the leaves; female catkins persistent for some time after capsule dehiscence, 2-5 cm long, on short leafy branchlets 0.5-2 cm long, with 2-4 small leaves; bracts persistent, pale with a reddish or darkened tip when young, yellowish to brown with age, villous; stamens 2. Capsules ovoid-conic, 5-8 mm long, finely pubescent; stipes 2-5 mm long. Flowering late Apr--May, fruiting late May--Jun. Wet meadows, stream banks, moist wooded ravines and hillsides, marsh borders and seepage areas; ND, e MT, e and w SD, e WY and w NE, most common in the n part; (Newf. to AK, s to MD, OH, IL, IA, NE, AZ, NM and CA).

Some plants in this region are var. perrostrata (Rydb.) Schneid., differing from the typical in having leaves thinner, more often glabrous, more entire-margined, and smooth, not rugose, beneath. This variety seems more characteristic of drier woodland habitats.

Salix scouleriana Barr., western pussy willow, is a similar species that occurs on moist slopes at higher elevations in the Black Hills. It differs from S. bebbiana in having the leaves arranged in a fanlike fashion at the tips of the branchlets. Also, the leaves have some reddish-brown hairs mixed with silvery ones on one or both surfaces.

GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


Previous Species -- Salix amygdaloides Anderss. -- Peachleaf willow
Return to Family -- Salicaceae - The Willow Family
Next Species -- Salix candida Fluegee -- Sage-leaved willow, hoary willow

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