S. cordata Muhlenberg, non Michaux
S. cordata auct., non Michaux
(misidentified specimen(s) from the Cape)
S. cordata Muhlenberg var.
S. rigida Muhlenberg
S. rigida Muhlenberg var.
vestita (Andersson) C.R.Ball
S. angustata Pursh
S. missouriensis Bebb
Common Names and Etymology:
heartleaf willow (translation of Latin name S. cordata), Missouri willow
(translation of name S. missouriensis), diamond willow (a willow
susceptible to a fungus causing wood distortions, a name applied to a few
different species). Its current Latin name was given by Michaux in
connection with the presence of pine-cone midge
(Rabdophaga) galls on the type specimens. These
galls, however, are not species specific.
is one of the most common and
easily recognized willows in New England. According to Angelo &
), it is present in virtually every county of all the New
England States, except for Martha's Vineyard
Its geographic range
extends across most of eastern North America.
one of the most variable willows. The number of its synonyms, described
varieties, and putative hybrids (only part of which are true hybrids) is
enormous. It belongs to the largest subgenus of willows,
and has been attributed to either Sect.
—in case the latter section is understood
in a broader sense, as Skvortsov (1999
) did. These sections are comprised
of numerous species both in North America and Eurasia, yet within southern
New England, S. eriocephala
is the only
Similarly to all of its close relatives, S. eriocephala
is a mid-sized shrub, though said to be
occasionally capable of forming a small tree. Leaves are denticulate at
margins, finely veined beneath, and with distinct, equilateral or
subequilateral stipules. Pistillate catkins with glabrous ovaries/capsules
that are gradually attenuate, forming a distinct style. Even though its name is heartleaf
willow, the leaf blade is not always heart-shaped (cordate) at base.
Shrub 0.2-6.0 m tall
(very rarely small tree). Branchlets yellowish brown, generally flexible
(occasionally somewhat brittle at base), pubescence variable (from
velutinous to glabrate).
Buds yellowish brown, pubescent to glabrate, slender, broadening
towards the base, with flattened beak.
Inner membrane of bud scale completely free ("loose"),
and falling off as a translucent "additional cap" with the bud development
This is a unique feature, at least among the local species. Floriferous
buds are visually different from vegetative, though the difference is not very drastic.
Leaves green or glaucous beneath, hypostomatous (i.e., stomata
present only on under-surface); veins not forming conspicuous reticulum,
though more obvious in mature leaves. Leaf shape varies from elliptic to
narrowly oblong or even lanceolate; leaf base usually cordate, though may
be rounded, or even cuneate; margin denticulate
Immature leaves reddish or yellowish green, translucent
glabrous or sparsely villous on both sides; mature leaves glabrous or
glabrate, glaucous beneath (wax sometimes thin, so that leaves may appear
green). Petioles without glands at junction with leaf blade. Stipules
often well developed, prominent, equilateral to subequilateral, subcordate
at base, rounded or acute at apex, glandular-serrulate at margins.
Catkins developing simultaneousely with leaves (coetaneous), borne
on short leafy branchlets
]. Stamens two (as in majority of our willows).
Floral bracts persistent in catkin, colored brown except for pale base,
same in staminate and pistillate catkins. Pistillate catkins 2.5-4.5 cm
long, relatively densely flowered (though catkin rachis is visible).
Ovaries greenish, frequently suffused with red
], pyriform (pear-shaped),
The plant is characterized by leaves that are often cordate at
base, glabrous or glabrate beneath, and feature prominent stipules
and glabrous ovaries/capsules borne on distinct stipes and subtended by
bracts clothed with wavy hairs. Large leaves on upper (distal) parts of vigorous
young shoots form characteristic regular "ladder-like" pattern
], which can
be noticed from the distance
Young leaves at tips of developing shoots often attain bright pink or
thus giving the species away. The reddish tint quickly fades, but mature
leaves often retain pinkish midribs
Bark on old trunks forms spectacular cracks
Mature foliage can be confused with that of S.
, S. nigra
, or S. x
. S. eriocephala
distinguished from S. sericea
by branchlets flexible
at base, loosely tomentose, becoming glabrate; also by presence of loose
inner membrane in buds. Narrow-leaved S. eriocephala
can be confused with S. nigra
It differs from S. nigra
in its bud scale forming a
cap-like structure due to connate margins (calyptrate bud scale typical
for most willows); from S. nigra
and S. x
, in petioles that lack glands at blade base,
invariably hypostomatous leaves (stomata never present on upper leaf
surface), and in its habit (only very rarely attaining tree
Wetland Delineation Code for the species: FACW.
A largely wetland
shrub, not necessarily alluvial (water may be running or stagnate),
occurring on gravelly or rocky river and stream banks
in mixed mesophytic woods on alluvium, at pond margins, in marshy fields
and wet thickets; also at roadsides, especially if there is a ditch along
Sources and References
2. Argus G.W. 1980. The typification and identity of Salix eriocephala Michx. Brittonia 32: 170–177.
3. Argus G.W. 1986. The genus Salix (Salicaceae) in the Southeastern United States. Systematic Botany Monographs 9. 170 pp.
Argus G.W. 2010. Salix
L. in Flora of North America North of Mexico, Volume 7. Magnoliophyta: Salicaceae to Brassicaceae, pages 23-162.
Eds. Flora of North America Editorial Committee. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Skvortsov, A.K. 1999. Willows of Russia and adjacent countries. Taxonomical and geographical revision. Univ. Joensuu.
Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Report Ser. 39. Joensuu, Finland. English translation of Skvortsov 1968.
Ivy SSSR. Sistematicheskiy i geograficheskiy obzor [Willows of the USSR. Taxonomic and geographic revision.] Nauka, Moscow.
Last time modified
(A.Zinovjev & I.Kadis)