Salix discolor

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Salix discolor
Salix discolor (USDA).jpg
Shoot with leaves
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Salix
Species: S. discolor
Binomial name
Salix discolor
Muhl.
Salix discolor range map 1.png
Natural range of Salix discolor

Salix discolor (American willow[1]) is a species of willow native to North America, one of two species commonly called pussy willow.

It is native to the northern forests and wetlands of Canada (British Columbia east to Newfoundland), and is also found in the northern portions of the contiguous United States (Idaho east to Maine, and south to Maryland).[1][2][3]

It is a weak-wooded deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 6 m (20 ft) tall, with brown shoots. The leaves are oval, 3–14 cm long and 1-3.5 cm broad, green above and downy grey-white beneath.

The flowers are soft silky silvery catkins, borne in early spring before the new leaves appear, with the male and female catkins on different plants (dioecious); the male catkins mature yellow at pollen release.

The fruit is a small capsule 7–12 mm long containing numerous minute seeds embedded in cottony down.[2][3]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Like other willows, it contains salicin, and was used by Native Americans as a painkiller.[3]

As with the closely related Salix caprea (European pussy willow), it is also often grown for cut flowers. Pussy willow has further cultural information and other uses.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Germplasm Resources Information Network: Salix discolor
  2. ^ a b Plants of British Columbia: Salix discolor
  3. ^ a b c Borealforests: Salix discolor