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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

21. Salicaceae, the Willow Family

2. Salix L. -- Willow

9. Salix humilis Marsh. -- Prairie willow


Shrub to 3 m tall; twigs yellowish-brown to dark brown, gray-pubescent or mostly so; branchlets strongly ascending, brown, gray-pubescent. Leaves dark green and usually glabrous above, glaucous and densely short-pubescent (rarely glabrate) beneath, with the golden-yellow veins raised prominently on the lower surface, oblanceolate to narrowly obovate, acute, cuneate at the base, mostly (1.5)4-8 cm long, 7-25 mm wide, the margins coarsely and irregularly serrate to subentire, flat to slightly revolute; petioles glandless, 3-10 mm long; stipules commonly persistent on vigorous branchlets, lanceolate to ovate, 3-7 mm long, pubescent, sparsely serrate. Catkins emerging and maturing before the leaves; female catkins sessile, 1-3(4) cm long; bracts persistent, dark brown or purplish, villous on the back; stamens 2. Capsules ovoid-conic, 4-6(8) mm long, pubescent; stipes 0.5-1.5 mm long. Flowering Apr--May, fruiting May--early Jun. Moist or dry places, often in sandhill areas; e and c parts of ND, SD and NE; (Newf. and s Que. to ND, s to FL and TX). S. humilis var. rigiduscula (Anderss.) Robins. & Fern.

S. humilis var. microphylla (Anderss.) Fern. occurs sparingly in this region, differing from the typical as follows: Shorter in stature, only 0.5-1 m tall; leaves narrowly oblanceolate, 2-5 cm long, 7-12 mm wide, mostly entire; stipules absent or very small. S. tristis Ait.

GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


Previous Species -- Salix fragilis L. -- Crack-willow, brittle willow
Return to Family -- Salicaceae - The Willow Family
Next Species -- Salix lucida Muhl. -- Shining willow

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