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CREEPING WILLOW

Salix repens

Willow Family [Salicaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may

category
category8Shrubs
category
category8Broadleaf
category
category8Deciduous

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8yellow
petals
petalsZ0
type
typeZcatkins
stem
stem8round
sex
sexZdioecious

A FEMALE PLANT

29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
It is dioecious and comes as separate male and female plants. These specimens from Hodbarrow are fruiting, which means they must be female. The red spikey objects are the fruits. Grows up to about 1m long (2m max).


29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
These specimens are procumbent, but they can also be erect. Creeping Willow is very variable especially with regard to the leaves, which here have a whitish edge.


29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
Willows have flowers in catkins, but they have all turned to fruits, the mis-shapen conical objects looking like articles of torture. Fome of the fruits here are ripe and have split open (top left) revealing their white pappus hairs with a seed at the centre of each. [The white ones at the bottom have opened up and become parachuted seeds ready to be blown away with the wind]


29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
The two magenta-coloured fruits on the left have split asunder relinquishing their cargo of parachuted seeds, some of which have already flown the nest.


29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
Unopened fruits are pale-green at first, turning red from the bottom up.


29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
The stems are red to brown-purplish, round, with protrusions.


29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
An opened fruiting head,, each each tapering tube having split curled back wide-open into two, with most of their parachuted seeds having flown away on the sea-breeze.
A leafy stem below.


29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
Fruits before they have split open.


13th May 2016, Alt Rifle Range, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fruits with the styles still red at their tips.


29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
The fruits are pale-green at first, probably turning red as protection from excess sun. The stems to here are much paler, mostly a greenish-white.


29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
Pale green hairy but un-ripe seed pods, their 3 stigmas at the top having withered brown.


29th May 2010, sea shore, Hodbarrow, Millom, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
The leaves have veins branching off from an axial main vein and curving forwards and outwards. Edges of leaves pale green to white(ish).




THE MALE PLANT

(catkins)
possibly var. argentea

13th May 2016, Formby Dunes, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Variation argentia has erect stems to 1.5m, which has always silvery, larger, more rounded leaves and is found on dune slacks (as is the case here) - so these photos are possibly that variety. [The other 2 species are var. repens, the commonest, which creeps along the ground with sprawling stems to 1m which is only downy at first, with pointed oval leaves. And var. fusca has erect stems to 2m but is found in the fens of East Aglia [which are several hundred miles away on the opposite coastline].


13th May 2016, Formby Dunes, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The male flowers displaying their stamens.


13th May 2016, Formby Dunes, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The twigs are whitish-hairy with appressed hairs. So too the undersides of the leaves. Catkins on short stalks near the end of the twig.


13th May 2016, Formby Dunes, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The catkins grow longer as they mature. The filaments are long, white, forwardly-directed splaying out at maybe 60° with a yellow anther at the tip, which turns brownish later.


13th May 2016, Alt Rifle Range, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A new branch with an as-yet un-opened male flower.


13th May 2016, Formby Dunes, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Anthers with yellow pollen. In-between the filaments there are some shorter, pale-green, rectangular objects (scales?) which have two reddish lobes at the tip.


13th May 2016, Formby Dunes, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
There are some hairs on the upper-surface of the leaves, but they are very short and not enough to hide the shiny-green surface.


13th May 2016, Formby Dunes, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The leaves have a white edge of dense short hairs.


Hybridizes with : Downy Willow (Salix lapponum), Mountain Willow (Salix arbuscula) and Dwarf Willow (Salix herbeca) [re the latter, er... well, it would, wouldn't it - the two are about the same height...]

No relation to : Creeping Bent (Agrostis stolonifera), Creeping Marshwort (Apium repens), Creeping Bell-flower (Campanula rapunculoides), Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense), Creeping Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster adpressus), Creeping Lady's-Tresses (Goodyera repens), Creeping Raspwort (Haloragis micrantha), Creeping Soft-grass (Holcus mollis), Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), Creeping Forget-me-not (Myosotis secunda), Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans), Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens), Creeping Spearwort (Ranunculus reptans), Creeping Yellow-Cress (Rorippa sylvestris), Creeping Comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

There are three variants of Creeping Willow, the commonest var. repens (which occurs mostly on heaths and moors - the above specimens appear to be this variant but are near the sea on the upper shore); var. argentea (which has silkily-hairy stems and leaves [not the above specimen], is usually erect and occurs mostly on dune slacks); and var. fusca (which is shortish and rhizomatous, occurring in the fens of East Anglia [which is nowhere near Cumbria]).


  Salix repens  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Salicaceae  

Distribution
 family8Willow family8Salicaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Salix
Salix
(Willows)

CREEPING WILLOW

Salix repens

Willow Family [Salicaceae]