Salix discolor Muhl.
Common Name: PUSSY WILLOW
Coefficient of Conservatism: 1
Coefficient of Wetness: -3
Wetness Index: FACW
Physiognomy: Nt Shrub

Salix discolor A. A. Reznicek

Bogs, swamps, shores, stream banks, ditches, wet thickets and fields, rarely upland in sandy or rocky ground.

One of our commonest but most variable species, often hybridizing. Plants with mature branchlets and foliage glabrous or nearly so (var. discolor) are fairly readily recognized. Pubescent plants (var. latifolia Andersson) are almost equally abundant throughout the state; they may sometimes closely resemble S. humilis (and may in part even be a result of hybridization with that species). The mature aments in var. latifolia tend to be longer than in typical var. discolor, in contrast to the short aments of S. humilis. Vegetative material is more of a problem to identify, the differences in leaf shape and texture being rather subtle. The leaves of S. discolor have more of a tendency to be elliptic: those of S. humilis run more consistently to an oblanceolate or narrowly obovate shape and also tend to be more rugose and pubescent beneath. The normally dry upland habitat of S. humilis in this region is a helpful contrast with the moist habitat most typical of S. discolor.

A cultivated and occasionally escaped Eurasian species, S. caprea L. is the “Pussy Willow” of the florists, and with smooth wood will run to S. discolor in the keys. Young staminate material is readily distinguished by the very large, thick aments, which flower from the base to the apex. The leaves are very broad (sometimes almost orbicular) and densely gray-tomentose beneath. The Keweenaw Co. report in Michigan Flora (O. A. Farwell in 1888, MICH) is a poor specimen suggested by G. W. Argus as perhaps referable to a broad leaved individual of S. humilis.

Locations

Alcona County
Alger County
Allegan County
Alpena County
Antrim County
Baraga County
Barry County
Bay County
Benzie County
Berrien County
Calhoun County
Cass County
Charlevoix County
    Including Beaver Island
Cheboygan County
Chippewa County
    Including Drummond Island
Clare County
Clinton County
Crawford County
Dickinson County
Eaton County
Emmet County
Genesee County
Gogebic County
Grand Traverse County
Gratiot County
Hillsdale County
Houghton County
Huron County
Ingham County
Ionia County
Iosco County
Isabella County
Jackson County
Kalamazoo County
Kalkaska County
Kent County
Keweenaw County
    Including Isle Royale
Lake County
Lapeer County
Leelanau County
    Including Fox Islands
Lenawee County
Livingston County
Luce County
Mackinac County
    Including Bois Blanc, Mackinac, Round Islands
Macomb County
Manistee County
Marquette County
Mason County
Mecosta County
Menominee County
Midland County
Monroe County
Montcalm County
Montmorency County
Muskegon County
Newaygo County
Oakland County
Oceana County
Ogemaw County
Ontonagon County
Osceola County
Otsego County
Ottawa County
Presque Isle County
Roscommon County
Saginaw County
Schoolcraft County
Shiawassee County
St. Clair County
Tuscola County
Van Buren County
Washtenaw County
Wayne County

Citation:

MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. December 11, 2017. http://www.michiganflora.net/species.aspx?id=2625.