Salix retusa L.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Salix retusa' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-09-25.



Sharply pointed.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Relating to lime- or chalk-rich soils or water.
Organism arising via vegetative or asexual reproduction.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Lying flat.
Slightly notched at apex.
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.
Appearing as if cut off.
(var.) Taxonomic rank (varietas) grouping variants of a species with relatively minor differentiation in a few characters but occurring as recognisable populations. Often loosely used for rare minor variants more usefully ranked as forms.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Salix retusa' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-09-25.

A low, prostrate shrub, reaching only a few inches above the ground, the branches creeping and taking root; young shoots glabrous. Stipules wanting. Leaves obovate or lozenge-shaped, 13 to 34 in. long, 16 to 14 in. wide; tapered at the base, blunt or rounded, sometimes retuse, at the apex, not toothed, quite glabrous and green on both sides; stalk 16 in. or less long; nerves in three to six pairs. Catkins erect, stalked, cylindrical, about 23 in. long, produced at the end of short, leafy shoots in May and June. Catkin-scales oblong-obovate, obtuse, yellow or pale brown, glabrous except for occasional long hairs at the edge. Ovaries conical, glabrous, the stalk and style both short.

Native of the mountains of Europe (Pyrenees, Alps, Appenines), with a close ally in the Carpathians (S. kitaibeliana Willd.), not treated here; introduced in 1763. A neat little alpine shrub, forming close tufts in exposed places, but spreading more freely when planted in gardens. Suitable for the rock garden.

S. serpyllifolia Scop. S. retusa var. serpyllifolia (Scop.) Ser. – Closely allied to S. retusa, and is sometimes regarded as a variety of it. It differs chiefly in the smaller leaves, which in nature are only 16 to 13 in. long, forming with its stunted branches a close dense tuft. Under cultivation the plant becomes more creeping, and the leaves up to 58 in. long. They are obovate, notched, rounded or pointed at the apex; nerves two to four each side. Native of the Alps of Europe, mostly at higher altitudes than S. retusa. Both species are, in the Alps, commonest on calcareous formations.

S. × cottetii Lagger ex Kern. S. retusa × S. nigricans – A procumbent shrub with ascending branches; young stems and leaves at first hairy, becoming almost glabrous. Leaves elliptic to obovate, obtuse or slightly acute, up to 158 in. long, about half as wide, finely toothed, equally green on both sides. Catkins 58 to 78 in. long on short leafy peduncles; scales oblong-obovate, darkened at the truncate or retuse apex. Originally described from a female plant found in Switzerland. A commercial clone, male, distributed as “S. × gillotii”, has been identified as S. × cottetii.


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