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The Willows

willow, tree, species, leaves and trees

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The willows all belong in the genus Salix. There are one hundred and sixty recognized species. and many natural hybrids which have been produced by the chance intercrossing of closely related species. Tice parentage of these hybrids is often problematic. Trees of the same species differ greatly when grown under changed conditions. For these reasons the relationships of the willows and their classification is a matter of great uncertainty at present. Seventy nine ,.‘Tnerican :species are deseribud, of which about one-half grow east of the Rocky Mountains. They vary from tall trees to creeping arctic shrubs, which dare the rigors of the far north along with the stunted birch. It is a strange circumstance that only six American willows ever attain large size. Even in these species the rank and File of individ uals are shrubs or small trees, a height of sixty feet being excep tional.

Tice willows have their winter buds sheathed in a single leathery scale, which has ;I, thin delicate thi The leaves are thin and nar row as a rule, aml short-petioled. The scales of the catkins have entire margins.

The Mack Willow, Scald: niu NI, is usually a small. slender tree, though it sometimes attains the height of one hundred feet or more. It is found chiefly along streams and lake margins. Among our native willows it is the most common one to grow to the stature of a tree. its range is from the Rocky .Ionntains eastward to the coast. A characteristic of this species is the almost black bark. lyllich is rough and flaky. The leaves. appear \Vith the flowers, are very slender and tapering, pale 1)ene.ith, and hairy on the veins. pair of heart-shaped stipules grow at, the base of the short leaf stalk. and persist until midsummer.

1 hie White Willow, a/hti, is a European species early introduced here. 3nd now growing It contrasts strikiiiglv with the tall black willow. for its trunk is short and thick, and its head is broad. The bark is ashen gray. The chief beauty of the tree is in its (lancing leaves.

which are silky. and pale beneath. and fairly illuminate the landscape. flared of foliage. the tree shows irregularities. which make it very ugly. It is often pollarded, after which it throws out a. brush of long straight suckers al)ont, the stub.

The Golden Osier, &tli.r rilellina, is commoner than the white willow in the eastern states. and is often mistaken for it. The branches and twigs are orange-yellow, hence the name.

The Crack Willow, (11i,r. frayilis, is a tall, graceful tree, with rough gray trunk and tine symmetrical head. Its leaves are large, dark green above, and dull grayish white beneath. The foliage mass is bright and cheerful like that of the white willow. The reddish green twigs snap readily at their bases. More than any other willow does this species cast its twigs upon the ground and upon the water. Its tribe increases at a. corresponding rate along•the banks of the streams. The tree is of European origin, and has been exploited in this country as a hedge tree. It is propagated by driving into the ground green stakes winch root and grow. It seems to make 110 difference in the growth if the stick is inverted. Seed of the Crack Wil low is rarely seen, for staminate trees are very scarce.

The Weeping Willow, So/ix Miby Maim, a. native of Asia, is a tall, stout-bodied tree, with long, slender, drooping branches. The narrow leaves seem fairly to drip from the twigs. It is commonly seen in cemeteries. This is the connnon weeping, willow, but it is not per fectly hardy in the northernmost parts of the United States. The hardiest of all kinds is the Wisconsin weeping willow, a tree of uncertain origin and parentage, winch is sometimes called Salix Baby Wier', var. dularnsa. Weeping willows, which are round-headed trees, have a graceful sweep of branches. and an expression that is cheerful. The Ilal)vh:»iian willow has a dejected look that is depressing to the spirits.

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