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DWARF WILLOW

Salix herbacea

Willow Family [Salicaceae]  

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category
category8UnderShrubs
category
category8Broadleaf
status
statusZnative
flower
flower8yellow
inner
inner8red
type
typeZcatkins
stem
stem8round
rarity
rarityZscarce
sex
sexZdioecious

29th July 2007, Cairngorms, Scotland Photo: © Derek Mayes
The leaves are net-veined but not deeply scored and cupped inwards. Leaves have a sheen despite the rain giving them a more shiny appearance.


29th July 2007, Cairngorms, Scotland Photo: © Derek Mayes
The most striking feature is the central object with astounding protuberances: the seed capsules. There are four or five capsules, which are greenish at first, turning red.


10th July 2009, summit of Green Gable, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The seed capsules expand with the growing seeds. The sides of these later split into two halves from the top, splaying wide open to reveal a multitude of fluffy seeds within.


Not to be semantically confused with : Dwarf Cherry, Dwarf Cornel, Dwarf Elder, Dwarf Birch or Dwarf Gorse [short trees with similar names]

Like many willows, it freely hybridizes with other Willows; six hybrids are known.

Hybridizes with :

  • Mountain Willow (Salix arbuscula) to produce Salix × simulatrix
  • Eared Willow (Salix aurita) to produce Salix × margarita
  • Woolly Willow (Salix lanata) to produce Salix × sadleri
  • Downy Willow (Salix lapponum) to produce Salix × sobrina
  • Dark-leaved Willow (Salix myrsinifolia) to produce Salix × semireticulata
  • Creeping Willow (Salix repens) to produce Salix × cernua

Whether any of the above photographs correspond with any of the above hybrids is unknown.

Some similarities to : Bearberry in that Bearberry is also a mountain under-shrub barely getting 2 inches above the ground, and which has shiny veined leaves (but which are not cupped but rather curved outwards.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The seed capsules and the very low habit on high mountainous ground.

Dwarf Willow is one of the shortest woody plants in the World, barely if every reaching 2 inches above the ground. It likes the cold and occupies high mountainous bare and rocky ground, only ever reaching the lower lands in the far North of Scotland. Like all other Willows, it is dioecious, and has red-coloured male and yellow-coloured female catkins on separate plants, which are so different as to look like a different species.

Some claim it to be the worlds smallest 'tree', but it has anything but a typical tree-like stance or jizz.


  Salix herbacea  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Salicaceae  

Distribution
 family8Willow family8Salicaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Salix
Salix
(Willows)

DWARF WILLOW

Salix herbacea

Willow Family [Salicaceae]  

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