Willows of Massachusetts

Initially, this list was based on the 'County Checklist' by B.A. Sorrie and P. Somers (1999) and publications of G. Argus (1986, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2010), though only some of the hybrids have been included. Classification of willows on the section level follows G. Argus. Names of sections used by A. Skvortsov (1999) are also shown when different. Species marked by the asterisk (*) have been erroneously reported for Massachusetts; some occur only in adjacent states. Most county records still need to be verified.

Subgenus Salix

Section Humboldtianae

* Salix amygdaloides Andersson
Not found in Massachusetts.
It has been reported for New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, but probably all records for New England are misidentifications (see Argus 2007, 2010)

Section Triandrae

* Salix triandra   L.
Not found in Massachusetts. - Introduced
Reported as introduced and naturalized in Maine (Penobscot River, Orono)

Section Salicaster = Pentandrae

Salix x jesupii   Fernald ( = S. alba L. x S. lucida Muhl., not S. x ehrhartiana (S. alba x S. pentandra) auct.  )
MA counties: BE
In herbaria, specimens of S. x jesupii (Salix alba x S. lucida) can be misidentified as S. alba, or S. x fragilis. Resembles S. x erhartiana but young leaves with reddish hairs. Reported from Massachusetts by Argus (2010): according to the samples from the Harvard University Herbaria, it has been found only in Berkshire Co.

Section Salix

Salix x fragilis   L.
MA counties: BE FR HS HD WO MI ES SU NO BR NA - Introduced
A willow originating from Asia Minor and Transcaucasia was introduced to Europe during the Middle Ages. In Western Europe it then started hybridizing with closely related S. alba on a grand scale, so that S. alba as a result mostly lost its characteristic features (see the translation of Skvortsov's 1973 article at this site). As the name "Salix fragilis" (crack willow) has been constantly misapplied to the widespread hybrids of the Asiatic willow with S. alba, NCVP (Nomenclature Committee for Vascular Plants) recently voted for the name "fragilis" to be retained for these hybrids. In other words, hybrids formerly known as S. alba x S. fragilis should now be named S. x fragilis L. (= S. decipiens Hoffm., S. x rubens Schrank). Thus there is no name "left" for the parent willow from Asia Minor. That species originating from Turkey and Georgia has been newly described as S. euxina Belyaeva (2009, Taxon 58: 1345).
Images from Massachusetts Plant Gallery: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

Section Subalbae

Subgenus Longifoliae

Section Longifoliae

Salix interior   Rowlee
MA counties: FR HS HD (native) MI (introduced) - Special Concern

Subgenus Chamaetia

Section Myrtilloides

Subgenus Vetrix

Section Hastatae

* Salix cordata   Michaux
Not found in Massachusetts.
Not found in New England. The historic record from Barnstable was obviously based on a misidentification. Mostly distributed within the US, around the Great Lakes, with isolated locations in Canada.
* Salix myricoides   Muhlenberg
Not found in Massachusetts.
The species is known from Maine (where it is considered Endangered). Must be erroneously listed for Massachusetts in Magee and Ahles (1999). Not shown for Massachusetts in the Flora of North America (Argus 2010).

Section Cordatae = Hastatae (in part)

Section Cinerella = Vetrix (in part)

* Salix caprea   L.
Not found in Massachusetts.
A Eurasian willow. This name is frequently used in American horticultural context for "pussy willow", which can hardly be true, since S. caprea, as opposed to most of related willows, is very difficult to propagate. Records of S. caprea may be attributed to S. cinerea L., S. atrocinerea Brotero, S. aegyptiaca L. There is a noteworthy remark by A. Skvortsov (1999: 178) about S. aegyptiaca: It is favored for cultivation, since it is easily propagated from cuttings, unlike S. caprea.

Section Fulvae = Vetrix subsect. Substriatae

Section Candidae

Salix candida   Flugge ex Willdenow
MA counties: BE FR ES - Watch List

Section Viminella = Vimen

Salix viminalis   L.
MA counties: FR MI ES SU NO NA - Introduced
An Eurasian species introduced to North America. We have not seen it anywhere in a natural setting.

Section Canae

Section Geyerianae

Section Griseae

Section Daphnella

Section Helix

Salix purpurea   L.
MA counties: BE FR HS HD WO MI ES SU NO PL BA DU NA - Introduced
A European species that is frequently cultivated. We have not yet seen it naturalized.


Argus, G. W. 1986. The genus Salix (Salicaceae) in the Southeastern United States. Systematic Botany Monographs. Vol 9. 170 pp.
Argus, G. W. 1997. Infrageneric classification of Salix (Salicaceae) in the New World. Systematic Botany Monographs. Vol. 52. 121 pp.
Argus, G. W. 2004
Argus, G. W. 2005. Guide to the identification of the Genus Salix (Willow) in New England and New York. Unpublished manuscript (online version not available anymore).
Argus, G. W. 2007. Salix L. (Salicaceae) distribution maps and a synopsis of their classification in North America, north of Mexico. Harvard Papers in Botany 12: 335-368. Online version: http://aknhp.uaa.alaska.edu/willow/pdfs/Argus_2007_Synopsis_Maps.pdf (accessed 5 April 2009).
Argus, G. W. 2010. SalixIn: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 12+ vols. New York and Oxford. Vol. 7:
Belyaeva, I. 2009. Nomenclature of Salix fragilis L. and a new species, S. euxina (Salicaceae) — Taxon 58: 1344-1348.
Fernald, M. L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany, ed. 8. New York.
Gleason, H. A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. N. Y. Botanical Garden.
Haines, A. and T. Vining. 1998. Flora of Maine. Bar Harbor, Maine: V. F. Thomas Co. [Salix pp. 476-491.]
Magee, D.W. and Ahles, H. E. 1999 Flora of the Northeast : A Manual of the Vascular Flora of New England and Adjacent New York. 1264 pp.
Skvortsov, A.K. 1955. [The willows of Central European Russia and their identification during the wintertime]. — Byull. MOIP, Otd. biol. 60 (3): 115-127. In Russian. English translation: /translations/Skvortsov1955.html
Skvortsov, A.K. 1960. Salix pentandra and related species. — Trudy MOIP 3: 247-262. In Russian.
Skvortsov, A.K. 1973. [Present distribution and probable primary range of brittle willow (Salix fragilis L.)]. Problemy biogeotsenologii, geobotaniki i botanicheskoy geografii. Leningrad, Nauka, pp. 263-280. In Russian. English translation: www.salicicola.com/translations/Skv1973SF.html
Skvortsov, A.K. 1999. Willows of Russia and adjacent countries. Taxonomical and geographical revision. University of Joensuu, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Report Series #39. Joensuu. English translation. 307 pp. Online version: http://www.salicicola.com/announcements/skv/skvortsov.pdf
Skvortsov, A.K. 2007. Present distribution and probable primary range of brittle willow (Salix fragilis L.) Problemy biogeotsenologii, geobotaniki i botanicheskoy geografii. Leningrad, Nauka, pp. 263-280. English translation: www.salicicola.com
Sorrie, B.A. and Somers, P. 1999. The vascular plants of Massachusetts: A county checklist. MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. Westborough, MA. 188 pp.

1 Feb 200730 Dec 2010 (A. Zinovjev, I. Kadis) — archived 20 Feb 2024 List of Salicicola Plant Gallery images generated: Thu Dec 30 05:43:08 PST 2010