This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
A typical upland plant, Creeping Willow is found in Late Glacial beds at Edinburgh and in Perth, and in Neolithic deposits at Cambridge and in Renfrew. It is found in the N. Temperate Zone in Europe, Siberia. The Creeping Willow occurs in Great Britain generally, except in Somerset, N. Wilts, W. Kent, Northants, Monmouth, Hereford, Cardigan, Flint, Derby, Mid Lancs, Isle of Man, Dumfries, Roxburgh, Haddington, Linlithgow, Stirling, Main Argyle, Dumbarton, E. Ross, but elsewhere, or from Shetland southwards. It grows at 2500 ft. in the Highlands, and is a native of Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Photo. H. Irving - Creeping Willow (Salix repens, L.)
One of the peculiar signs of a heath or moor, especially in upland, barren, stony regions, is the occurrence of the Creeping Willow, which grows profusely on wide open commons and heaths. It also occurs on the sides of stony slopes of hills and mountains, usually in a dry situation, being ericetal rather than paludal.
As the second Latin name suggests (and the English also), this willow has a creeping habit, seldom attaining any height, but is branched and bushy. The leaves are loosely and softly hairy, small, elliptic, lance-shaped, straight, subacute, subentire, nearly naked above, bluish-white, and below silky.
The catkins are cylindrical, oblong, with spoon-shaped scales. The ovary is egg-shaped, stalked, smooth, or even silky. The anthers becoming black at length, are at first golden.
The plant is 2 ft. high. It flowers in May. The Creeping Willow is deciduous, propagated by seeds.
The flowers are unisexual; the plant being dioecious, pollinated by the wind, and also adapted to the visit of bees, which cause cross-pollination. Creeping Willow is visited by the Honey-bee, Bombus ter-restris, Andrena, Tenthredi-nidae, Dolerus, Diptera, Bom-bylius, Myopa, Lepidoptera, Vanessa. The honey is half-concealed and abundant.
The seeds are fringed with hairs, which assist in dispersing them by the wind.
A fungus, Melampsora repentis, attacks the Creeping Willow.
Several Lepidoptera are found upon it. Tortrix viburnana, T. dumetana, Gelechia lentiginosella, Lithocolletis quinqueguttata.
The second Latin name refers to its creeping habit.
Essential Specific Characters: 286. Salix repens, L. - Shrub, straggly, branches upright, leaves lanceolate, with recurved margin, glaucous, silky below, catkins sessile, style short.
Photo. Dr. Somerville Hastings - Creeping Willow (Salix repens, L.)