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Carolina Willow

Carolina Willow, Salix caroliniana, is prolific in moist areas such as streams, swamps, marshes, retention ponds and other wetland areas of northeast Florida, and could make an excellent addition to a moist, sunny area of your landscape. Narrow, lance-shaped leaves grace the long, wispy stems of this small, multi-branched tree that serves as the larval host plant for the Viceroy butterfly as well as a nectar source for native bees and other butterflies. To differentiate this from other willows, you’ll need a magnifying lens to see yellowish glands that dot the tip of it’s serrated leaf margins. Additionally, the base of young leaves have small, round, wing-like leaves that resemble mouse ears. The willow’s inconspicuous yellow flowers in early spring are followed by masses of white fluff when fruiting. Woven wooden structures such as garden fences, furniture, and basketry, as well as medicinal benefits from the plant’s salicylic acid, are among the willow’s many uses.

Bee pollinating a catkin flower by Bob Peterson, NCSU

Photo by Shirley Denton

Photo Credit: NCSU

Photo credit: Shirley Denton

 

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