White Willow
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White Willow
D Introduced Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: White Willow • Kashmiri: ﻭﻳﺮ Vir
Botanical name: Salix alba    Family: Salicaceae (Willow family)
Synonyms: Salix regalis, Salix caerulea, Salix pameachiana

White Willow is a medium-sized to large deciduous tree growing up to 10-30 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m in diameter and an irregular, often-leaning crown. The bark is grey-brown, and deeply fissured in older trees. The shoots in the typical species are grey-brown to green-brown. Leaves are paler than most other willows, due to a covering of very fine, silky white hairs, in particular on the underside; they are 5-10 cm long and 0.5-1.5 cm wide. The flowers are produced in catkins in early spring, and pollinated by insects. It is dioecious, with male and female catkins on separate trees; the male catkins are 4-5 cm long, the female catkins 3-4 cm long at pollination, lengthening as the fruit matures. When mature in midsummer, the female catkins comprise numerous small, about 4 mm, capsules, each containing numerous minute seeds embedded in white down, which aids wind dispersal. White Willow is native to Europe to N. China, NW. Africa. Is is cultivated in Western Himalaya.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed near Tangmarg, Kashmir.

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