Goat willow

Goat willow

Salicaceae / Salix caprea – Goat willow

The goat willow prefers a moist soil – the small to medium-size tree is shade-tolerant and can be found in dense forests along streams. I have one growing in my backyard that is approaching its maximum reported height of around 10 meters. At that height the trunk has grown to an impressive thickness. But even at that size, goat willow is rather inconspicuous, with no flashy flowers, fruit or autumn colors. It’s a modest tree that dots the landscape with touches of green.

On a side note, the goat willow and grey willow are two very similar trees, and to complicate matters, the two species often create hybrid offspring. This makes it a difficult tree to identify, but I’m leaning toward the goat willow. Not that it matters that much, the difference is that the goat willow grows much taller than the grey willow.

An eye-catching feature of the branches of the forest willow is the mini leaves at the base of each true leaf. These leaf-like structures are called stipules.

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