Genus: Salix

willow

Species of Salix have two kinds of leaves: those that emerge from the overwintered bud, called first leaves, and those produced later in the season at the ends of the branches, called new leaves. Look for both types, because they differ in important characters like the prominence of stipules. The hairiness of the leaves is denser on early season leaves. Some species often produce red-brown hairs, which, when present, are very useful identifying characters. However, all species that produce such hairs can lack them altogether. To look at the branch wood surface, remove the bark when the specimens are fresh or it will be difficult to do. Also check to see if branchlets break off cleanly at the start of the season's growth, or have to be torn off the branch. This character will help with identification. There is a lot of variation within species, mostly due to environmental and seasonal influences and not to hybridization. References: Argus (1986), Meikle (1984).

Family

Salicaceae (willow family)

This Genus’s Species in New England:

Visit this genus in the Dichotomous Key