Salix pedicellaris (Bog Willow)
|Also known as:
|sun; wet; bogs, fens, swamps, peatlands, floating mats
|April - June
|1 to 5 feet
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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Male and female flowers are on separate plants (dioecious) in spike-like clusters (catkins) at the tips of short branchlets along 1 year old branches, emerging with the leaves. Male catkins are cylindric, less than 1 inch long, the flowers densely to somewhat loosely packed, each flower with 2 yellow-tipped stamens, the stamen stalk (filament) sometimes hairy on the lower half.
Female catkins are up to 1½ inches long, the flowers loosely arranged on the spike, bulbous at the base with a long beak, hairless, green to red, and on slender stalks 2.1 to 3.2 mm long. At the base of each male and female flower stalk is a tiny, yellowish to pinkish, scale-like bract sparsely covered with straight or crinkly hairs on the tip end.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, ¾ to 2¼ inches long, to ¾ inch wide, 2 to 4.5 times as long as wide, narrowly oblong-elliptic, mostly widest near the middle, rounded to pointed at the tip, wedge-shaped to somewhat rounded at the base, toothless, the edges sometimes rolled under (revolute). Leaf-like appendages at the base of the leaf stalk (stipules) are absent or obscure.
The upper surface is dull green to blue-green, the lower whitish with a waxy coating. New leaves are yellowish to reddish, hairless to sparsely silky hairy soon becoming hairless. A network of veins is fairly distinct. New branchlets are mostly hairless, yellowish to brown, becoming brown to red-brown the second year. Stems are few-branched, slender with smooth to slightly rough gray bark. Small, loose colonies may form by a process known as layering, where a branch that touches the ground takes root and forms a new plant, detaching itself from the parent plant.
The spike elongates some as fruit matures, the fruit loosely arranged. Fruit is a hairless capsule 3 to 8 mm long, reddish when mature, somewhat pear-shaped to narrowly conical with a straight beak. The capsule splits into two halves when mature, releasing the cottony seed.
There are over 20 species of Willows in Minnesota; Bog Willow is a common species of cold bogs, fens, swamps and peatlands. It is one of the more distinctive willows and not likely to be mistaken for any of the others. It is relatively short (usually about 3 feet tall) and few-branched with toothless and hairless leaves that are whitish with a waxy bloom on the lower surface. Stipules are absent or obscure. The female flowers and fruits are commonly red and stand out against the green leaves.
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Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Pine counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?