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A shrub to about 15 ft high; branchlets glabrous or silky, brown, brittle at the base; winter-buds abruptly acute at the apex. Leaves lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, up to 4 in. long, 1⁄2 to 1 in. wide, slenderly acuminate at the apex, finely serrated throughout, silky on both sides when young, usually permanently so beneath, becoming dark green and glossy above; petiole to 1⁄2 in. long. Catkins appearing in spring before the leaves, about 1 in. long, the females elongating in the fruiting stage; scales dark. Stamens two, the anthers red when young. Ovary short-stalked, ovoid, blunt at the apex, silky; stigmas almost sessile.
Native of eastern N. America; in cultivation 1829 and introduced on several occasions since. Although now uncommon in gardens it is one of the most ornamental of the medium-sized willows. It is grouped with the European S. repens by some authorities, but its taxonomic position is controversial.