Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Felt-leaf willow,
French: Saule d'Alaska,
Inukitut: Uqaujait (Baffin Island), urpiq (Nunavik).
Salicaceae, Willow family.
Published in Proc. Wash. Acad. Sci. 2: 280. 1900.
Synonymy. Salix speciosa Hooker and Arn. β (var.) alaxensis Andersson, In DC., Prodr. 16, 2: 275. 1868.
Salix longistylis Rydberg, Bull. New York Bot. Gard. 2: 163. 1901.
Salix alaxensis (Andersson) Coville var. longistylis (Rydberg) C.K. Schneid., J. Arnold Arb. 1: 225. 1919.
Salix alaxensis (Andersson) Coville var. obovalifolia Ball, C. R. Ball, J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 28: 444. 1938.
Vegetative morphology. Plants 100–400(–700) cm high; shrubs; mid shrubs, or tall shrubs, or trees; not colonial. Aerial stems erect (rarely decumbent). Branches red-brown; not glaucous; hairy; hairs villous. Branchlets grey-brown, or red-brown; not glaucous (rarely glaucous); hairy; villous. Branchlet hairs very dense; spreading. Buds arctica-type. Leaves present; distributed along the stems; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent, or marcescent. Stipules present; on first leaves foliaceous; on leaves formed later in the season foliaceous; persisting for 2 or more years, or deciduous in autumn; green; apex acuminate, or acute, or rounded, or obtuse. Petioles (1.5–)5–15(–46) mm long (often inflated around the large floral buds); convex to flat in cross section, or shallowly concave in cross section, or deeply concave in cross section, or deeply concave in cross section, margins covering groove; glabrous, or hairy, or glabrescent; puberulent, or pilose, or villous, or long-silky. Juvenile leaves reddish, or yellowish green (often obscured); glabrous, or hairy; abaxial surfaces tomentose and woolly (combined); abaxial hairs very dense; abaxial hairs white. Leaf blade bases cuneate, or obtuse (slightly decurrent). Blades 50–110 mm long, length-width ratio 2–4, 13–35 mm wide, oblong (broadly oblong) or elliptic (or narrowly elliptic) or obovate (to broadly obovate). Blade adaxial surface dull (bright green), glabrous or hairy or glabrescent, hairs villous, hairs sparse or moderately dense, hairs white, or translucent or grey. Blade abaxial surface hairy, hairs tomentose or woolly (combined), hairs very dense, hairs white, hairs wavy, hairs spreading or erect. Blade margins strongly revolute. Blade margins entire and glandular-dotted or crenate, with teeth all around the blade (more towards tip), with teeth per cm 2–5; apices acuminate, or acute, or obtuse.
Reproductive morphology. Plants dioecious. Inflorescences catkins. Pedicels absent. Catkins flowering before leaves emerge (precocious). Male catkins 26–55 mm long; 13–27 mm wide; stout; peduncles 2–6 mm long; sessile, or borne on a flowering branchlet; flowering branchlets 0–5 mm long. Female catkins 29–115 mm long; 10–22 mm wide (also large); slender, or stout; peduncles 3–17 mm long; borne on a flowering branchlet, or sessile (or on a short flowering branchlet); flowering branchlets 0–2 mm long. Floral bracts brown, or black; 1.5–2.5 mm long; hairy all over; hairs sparse; hairs straight; apices acute, or convex; apices entire. Flowers unisexual. Sepals absent. Petals absent. Stamens 2; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers purple becoming yellow; long-cylindrical; 0.6–0.9 mm long. Male flowers abaxial nectaries absent. Male flowers adaxial nectaries oblong, or narrowly oblong; 0.5–1(–1.4) mm long. Female flowers abaxial nectaries absent. Female flowers adaxial nectaries narrowly oblong; 0.6–1(–1.6) mm long; longer than stipes. Ovary carpels 2. Stipes 0–0.4 mm long. Ovaries pear-shaped; gradually tapering to style; hairy; villous. Ovary hairs sparse, or moderately dense; white; spreading; wavy; flattened (refractive). Styles 1.3–2.8 mm long. Stigma lobes 0.4–0.99–1.28 mm long. Ovules per ovary 14–18. Fruit a capsule; 4–5 mm long; hairy.
Chromosome information. 2n = 38.
2n (2x) = 38. Böcher and Larsen (1950, Alaska); Zhukova (1967, 1969, northeastern Asia); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Suda and Argus (1969, Alaska, two counts); Löve and Löve in Löve (1982a, Churchill, Manitoba); Petrovsky and Zhukova (1983a, northeastern Asia).
Ploidy levels recorded 2x.
Ecology and habitat. Forming small thickets, 0.5–3 m tall, in protected places with good winter snow cover. On moderately well-drained to wet sand plains and remnant dune on river deltas, terraces, and river banks. Sometimes on coarse, calcareous gravel on river and lake shores or on scree slopes.
North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec. Arctic islands: Banks, Victoria, Southampton.
Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Beringian (broadly). Taimyr Severnaya Zemlya, AnabarOlenyok, Kharaulakh, YanaKolyma, West Chukotka, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador Hudson Bay.
General notes. Salix alaxensis is one of the tallest growing willows in the Arctic Archipelago. In the Masik River valley, southwestern Banks Island, it forms a dominating shrub tundra in association with S. pulchra and S. richardsonii (Kuc 1970, 1974). It occurs in northern Ungava (Maycock 1963), but evidently it has not been able to cross the Hudson Straits to Baffin Island.
Illustrations. • Habitat. Plant growing as a tall shrub. Tuktoyaktuk. 14 August, 1997. Photograph by Laurie Consaul. • Habit. Plant growing as an erect shrub. In the Arctic, it may grow up to 3 metres tall in sheltered places. B.C., Wakkpash Lake. 22 July, 1977. • Habit. Plant, a low shrub, approximately 1 metre tall, in active sand dunes. The lower surface of the leaves have dense, white, tomentose hairs. Alaska, Meade River. 15 July, 1966. • Habitat. Plant growing on slope. N.W.T., Kitigazuit. Laurie Consaul 1156 and 1157 and Lynn Gillespie. CAN. • Tundra habitat. Plant growing in the tundra on stabilised sandy soil. Alaska, Meade River. 14 July, 1966. • Sand blowout habitat. Plants being buried by an active sand blowout. Alaska, Meade River. 15 July, 1966. • Close-up of female catkin. Female catkin that are long and prominent, ranging from 30–150 mm long in fruit with long styles. Alaska, Meade River. 15 July, 1966. • Close-up of leaves. Close-up of leaves showing densely villous-tomentose undersides and inflated petioles surrounding floral buds. N.W.T., Kitigazuit. Laurie Consaul 1156 and Lynn Gillespie. CAN. • Line drawing. Line drawing. A. Male catkin. The catkin is sessile on the branch. B. Male flowers have 2 stamens, a floral bract with long, straight hairs, and a single abaxial nectary. C. Female catkins. The catkin is sessile on the branch. D. Female flowers have a villous ovary, a long style, a long-hairy floral bract, and a single floral nectary that is longer than the stipe. E. Shoots bear leaves that are densely hairy beneath and have narrow leaf-like stipules at their base. Coville 1901. • Arctic Island Distribution.
This publication is available on the internet (posted May 2011) and on CD-ROM (published in 2007). These versions are identical in content, except that the errata page for CD-ROM is accessible on the main index page of the web version.
Recommended citation for the web-based version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa. http://nature.ca/aaflora/data, accessed on DATE.
Recommended citation for the CD-ROM version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. [CD-ROM] NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa..