98. Salix viminalis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1021. 1753.
Osier, basket willow, silky osier
Stems: branches yellow-brown, gray-brown, or yellowish, not glaucous, glabrous or puberulent; branchlets yellow-brown or yellowish (sometimes color obscured by hairs), glabrous, densely to sparsely villous, velvety, or puberulent. Leaves: stipules (not adnate to petioles), rudimentary or absent on early ones, (late ones sometimes brownish, linear, 5.4-10.4 mm), apex acuminate; petiole shallowly grooved adaxially, 4-13 mm, villous, puberulent, or velvety adaxially; largest medial blade linear, lorate, narrowly oblong, or narrowly elliptic, 53-130 × 5-33 mm, base cuneate, margins strongly revolute, sinuate or apparently entire, (glands epilaminal), apex acuminate, acute, or convex, abaxial surface apparently glaucous (obscured by hairs), densely short-silky, woolly, or tomentose, (midribs prominent, yellowish, and hairy), hairs appressed, spreading or erect, straight or wavy, adaxial dull or slightly glossy, sparsely or moderately densely pubescent, hairs gray; proximal blade margins entire; juvenile blade yellowish green, very densely tomentose or short-silky abaxially, hairs white. Catkins flowering just before or as leaves emerge; staminate stout, 24-48 mm, flowering branchlet 0-2 mm; pistillate densely flowered, 23-55 mm, flowering branchlet 0-6 mm; floral bract brown or tawny, 1.6-2.2 mm, apex convex or rounded, abaxially hairy, hairs straight. Staminate flowers: adaxial nectary narrowly oblong or oblong, 0.6-1.5 mm; filaments distinct; anthers purple turning yellow, ellipsoid to shortly cylindrical, 0.6-0.8 mm. Pistillate flowers: adaxial nectary narrowly oblong or oblong, 0.9-1.4 mm; ovary pyriform, beak gradually tapering to styles; ovules 12-18 per ovary; styles 0.6-1.8 mm. Capsules 4-6 mm. 2n = 38.
Flowering Apr-early May. Sandy, open woods, cobble rivershores, lake margins, and roadsides; 0-300 m; introduced; N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Conn., Ind., Iowa, Maine, Mass., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, R.I., Vt.; Europe.
Salix ×smithiana (S. caprea × S. viminalis) is distinguished from S. viminalis by having leaf blades usually broad, 2.8-4.9(-6.4) times as long as wide, stipes 0.9-2 mm, ovaries short-silky, branches ± brittle at base, and petioles flat to convex adaxially; S. viminalis has leaf blades usually very narrow, 4.7-13.7 times as long as wide, stipes 0.1-0.5 mm, ovaries long-silky, branches flexible at base, and petioles shallowly grooved adaxially.
See Salix ×smithiana [p. 132] and 86. S. pellita for further comparative descriptions.