Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Large Gray Willow - Salix atrocinerea   Brotero
Members of Salicaceae:
Members of Salix with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Salicales » Family Salicaceae
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DistributionMountains only, from 3 counties: Buncombe, Burke, and Henderson.

Native of Europe; in N.A. scattered ME to Ont. and WI, south to NC, MO, NE.
AbundanceVery rare.
HabitatBogs, swampy area along river, waste area, edge of orchard.
PhenologyFlowering April.
IdentificationThis willow's leaves are broader towards the tip than basally, and are tomentose or velvety whitish beneath. The typical growth form is a very tall shrub 10 feet or more. See also keys in Weakley (2018) and FNA to tell from S. cinerea and S. caprea.
Taxonomic CommentsA synonym is S. cinerea ssp. oleifolia.

The genus Salix is a very large and complex group of plants that vary from ground-hugging Arctic belly plants to huge trees. There are 113 species in North America alone, including introduced species. They are extremely important to browsing mammals -- rabbits, deer, elk, muskox, moose, many rodents -- and browsing birds like ptarmigan. Many birds use them to nest in. Here in NC we only have a small number of native species (5) and so do not appreciate the ecological importance of willows. We highly recommend reading the introductory pages of George Argus's FNA treatment (2010) and his excellent monograph on the willows of the southeastern U.S. (1986). The latter has drawings and descriptions of all southeastern U.S. taxa. Due to natural and horticultural hybridization, some plants will not key cleanly and you may have to compare your specimen with others verified by Argus.
Other Common Name(s)
State RankSE
Global Rank[GNR]
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