Salix argyrocarpa Anderss.

Silverleaf Willow

Habitat: Alpine or subalpine meadows, or wet rock. [Alpine or subalpine (non-forested, upland)]

Range: Mountains of northern Vermont, northern New Hampshire, and northern Maine, to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Aids to Identification: Willows are recognized by their winter buds and flowers. Their buds are covered by a single, cap-like scale, and their flowers are very small and are borne in catkins. Identification of the willows is complicated by the fact that these plants are dioecious - the staminate and carpellate flowers are borne on separate plants. This willow is a low-growing (0.5-1.7 meters) bushy shrub with reddish-brown twigs. The winter buds are yellow-brown, less than 3.5 mm long, and sometimes red-glandular dotted. The leaf blades are lanceolate to narrow-elliptic. The catkins grow on peduncles (short branches) with dark brown or black scales. Fruits are 2-4 mm long, silky, and they grow on short pedicels.

Ecological characteristics: In Maine, this species is known to occur only at high elevations in Baxter State Park.

Phenology: Flowers June - August.

Family: Salicaceae

Synonyms: Salix argyrocarpa Anderss. var. denuda Anderss.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 2 town(s) in the following county(ies): Piscataquis.

Reason(s) for rarity: Disjunct from principal range.

Conservation considerations: Known populations are small and subject to the vagaries of small populations like random fluctuations or localized disturbance events.