Salix occidentalis Walt.
Dwarf Prairie Willow
Habitat: Dry barrens, plains, and slopes.
Range: Southern Maine to Virginia, at higher elevations south to Alabama.
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 has leaf blades are lanceolate to narrow-elliptic 2-5 by 0.7-1.2 cm. that lack stipules. The petioles are 0.5 to 3 mm long.
Phenology: Flowers March - April in most of range.
Synonyms: Salix humulus Marsh. var. microphylla (Anderss.) Fern.; Salix humulus Marsh. var. tristis (Ait.) Griggs; Salix muehlenbergiana Willd.; Salix tristis Ait.; Salix tristis Ait. var. microphylla Anderss. Salix humilis var. tristis (Ait.) Griggs was the former name for listing this taxon in Maine; see Flora Novae Angliae Haines (2011) for discussion about separating these taxa.
Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has not been documented in Maine.
Reason(s) for rarity: Disjunct from principal range.