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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Goat Willow

It was a mystery tree. I found this in the backyard of a home in town. What that means is that it could be pretty much anything, since people plant trees for all kinds of reasons.

My best guess was Goat Willow, Salix caprea, which is not native to the US, but it will grow here if planted. Blog buddy Carol has confirmed this is correct

At first, I thought those long twigs were compound leaves, but I guess they are not.

mystery willow

The stipules (little leaves where the leaves join the stems) pretty much suggest it's a willow. But if it's a willow, those broad leaves really narrow the choices; willows usually have narrow leaves. And these leaves are quite large- about 3 inches long.

mystery willow

And look how different the growth appears when you look up at the ends of the branches!

mystery willow

The goat willow is not native to the US, but it is supposed to be common in the UK, and my buddy Carol had books that actually contain this tree. However... some pictures on line show this tree with leaves with smooth margins, not these wavy ones. The leaves are supposed to be grayish green with silky hairs on the underside. Did I think to look at the leaves that closely. No.

And then there is this fact. Willows are quite promiscuous. They hybridize like crazy.

I thought it might be a perpetual mystery tree, but now the only mystery is why it was planted in a backyard half a century or more ago.

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rainfield61 said...

You found your mystery.

I have mine.

Ann said...

I never knew there was such a thing as a promiscuous tree. :) I'm sure you'll solve the mystery before long

Sharkbytes said...

Hi rainfield- you seem to like to leave your mysteries intact.

Ann- Oh yes, they mix species at the drop of a... pollen speck

Duxbury Ramblers said...

Willow are so varied over here due their cross pollinating we struggle to name them.

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