Trees or shrubs with alternate, stipulate leaves. Flowers dioecious. Perianth o. Male flowers (in catkins) of 2 or more stamens. Female flowers of a 1-celled ovary with 2 styles and many ovules. The family is not represented in Australia or Malay.

Salix L. Willow

Trees or shrubs, with simple, entire, or serrate leaves. Stipules persistent or deciduous. Stamens 2 or more. Catkins usually erect. Many species found in damp and cold regions of the globe, with a great tendency to hybridise.

Salix Retusa L

A small, creeping shrub with ascending branches and 5-9 flowered terminal catkins. Leaves obovate, running into a short leaf-stalk, entire or glandular-serrate at the base, obtuse, sometimes emar-ginate, glabrous, shining above, smooth beneath. Female catkins, long, few-flowered. Scales as long as the glabrous ovary. Stigmas 2-3 cleft. Lobes filiform.

Wet Alpine pastures and rocks up to 10,000 feet. June, July.


Carpathians; Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Pyrenees, Jura, Apennines, Balkans, Altai.

The variety serpyllifolia Scop, has much smaller leaves.

Salix Reticulata L

This small, creeping shrub, with round, entire, net-veined leaves does not often descend below about 4500 feet in Switzerland, and it ascends to over 8000 feet. June to August.


Carpathians, Alps, Pyrenees, Arctic Europe, Asia and America. British. Often found fossilised.

Salix Herbacea L

This very small, creeping shrub, with branches only about 2 inches above the ground, and small, nearly orbicular, crenate-serrate leaves, does not descend below about 5000 feet in Switzerland; and it ascends to at least 11,000 feet.


Carpathians, Alps, Pyrenees, Arctic Europe, Asia and America. British.

Salix Arbuscula L

An erect shrub, 2-3 feet high, bushy, with small coriaceous leaves, which have 5-8 yellow glandular teeth. Leaves lanceolate-elliptical or obovate, entire or serrate, glabrous or slightly hairy when young, dark green and shining above, light green and glaucous beneath. Catkins at apex of short leafy shoots; scale of catkins 2-coloured, brown or blackish at apex. Stamens 2. Anthers yellow. Nectary projecting above the mass of the ovary. Style elongated. Stigmas divaricate. Alpine rocks and pastures. June to August.


Carpathians, Alps, Pyrenees, Caucasus, Norway, Siberia, Greenland. British.

Salix Mysinites L

A low, much-branched shrub, often quite procumbent though not creeping, and sometimes a foot or more high. Leaves small, orbicular, ovate or lanceolate, bright green, with prominent veins, and finely toothed. With long silky hairs when young, afterwards glabrous. Catkins cylindrical, 1 inch longer flower, 1 1/2-2 inches when in fruit, on short leafy shoots.

Damp places in the mountains. June to August.


Alps, Central Pyrenees, Norway, Northern and Arctic Asia and America. Scotland and Co. Sligo.

Salix Phylicifolia L

A shrub with very variable foliage. Young leaves often downy, becoming glabrous when old; leaves ovate-oblong to lanceolate, 1-2 inches long, pointed, with rather prominent veins above, often toothed, glaucous or whitish underneath. Catkins slender, the males nearly sessile with a few broad bracts at the base; the females shortly stalked, with more leafy bracts, 1-2 inches long when in fruit.

Mountain woods, thickets, and near streams. June.


Alps, Central Pyrenees, and other mountains of Central and Southern Europe. Arctic Europe and Asia, N. Britain.

Salix Repens L. Creeping Willow

A low creeping shrub, the stems rooting at the base and ascending to a foot or more in height when in rich soil. Leaves more or less silky white when young, oblong or lanceolate, but very variable, usually entire, about 1 1/2 inches long. Catkins cylindrical, about 1/2 inch long, and sessile when in flower, afterwards shortly peduncled and an inch long.

Moors, heaths, and wet mountain-sides. From sea-level in England to the sub-alpine region on the Continent. April, May.


Arctic, Northern, and Central Europe, and occasionally in the mountains of Southern Europe. Russian Asia.

Salix Lapponum L. (? S. Helvetica VILL)

A low-spreading, much-branched shrub, attaining 3-4 feet in rich valleys. Leaves oblong or lanceolate, pointed, entire, covered on both sides with a white cottony down, but when old nearly glabrous above. Catkins nearly sessile, with a few bracts at their base, about an inch long in flower, with long silky hairs, lengthening to 1 1/2 or 2 inches when in fruit.

Mountain pastures extending to wet, bushy places. June, July.


Dauphiny, Savoy, Switzerland, N. Italy, Tyrol, Central Pyrenees, Central, Northern, and Arctic Europe. Scotland.

S. Lapponum grows in the Highlands of Scotland, but perhaps the plant of Linnaeus is not actually identical with 5. helvetica of Villari, though generally considered so.

Various other species of Willow can be found in the lower mountains of Switzerland. Want of space prevents further treatment of the genus.