Balsam willow

  • Latin name: Salix pyrifolia Andersson
  • French name: Saule baumier
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 22575
    520763 [syn. S. balsamifera Barratt]
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf and stipules - balsam willow

Form

  • Oval, thick
  • Tip tapered to a point, base rounded
  • A network of prominent veins on lower surface
  • Stipules small or missing
  • Young leaves thin, translucent
  • Odour of balsam from bruised leaves

Length

  • 3–8 mm

Colour

  • Upper surface dark green
  • Lower surface paler
  • Young leaves often tinged with red

Margin

  • Teeth short, gland-tipped

Petiole

  • Glands near the leaf blade

Buds

Form

  • Pointed, pressed against the twig, closely spaced
  • Covered with a single scale
  • No true terminal bud; end bud originates as a lateral bud
  • Flower buds larger than leaf buds
  • Leaf scars V-shaped, with 3 vein scars
  • Stipule scars on either side

Twigs

Form

  • Odour of balsam from bruised twigs
  • Shiny

Colour

  • Yellowish or greenish in spring becoming reddish-brown
  • Larger stems grey or brown to purplish-red

Flowers

  • Seed catkin - balsam willow
  • Pollen catkin - balsam willow
  • Seed flower - balsam willow
  • Pollen flower - balsam willow

Form

  • Catkins on short, usually leafy shoots

Structure

  • Dioecious

Floral timing

  • With the leaves

Fruits

Form

  • Capsules smooth

Size

Height

  • To 8 m

Habitat

Site

  • Spruce bogs and alder swamps

Range

Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia, south into Michigan and Vermont

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