Salix triandra L.
Synonyms: S. amygdalina L.
A shrub or small tree up to 30 ft high, of erect habit; bark flaking, brown when freshly exposed; young shoots glabrous, or downy and soon becoming glabrous, angled or furrowed. Leaves quite glabrous on both surfaces, lance-shaped, rounded or wedge-shaped at the base, tapered to a fine point, finely toothed, 2 to 4 in. long, 5⁄8 to 1 in. wide, dark green above, green or glaucous beneath; stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long, with a few glands near the apex. Stipules well developed on sterile shoots, 3⁄16 to 3⁄8 in. wide, usually persistent. Catkins produced in April or May (or sporadically throughout the summer) on short leafy shoots; scales yellowish, thinly hairy, deciduous. Male catkins up to 21⁄2 in. long; stamens three, anthers yellow, filaments hairy at the base. Female catkins shorter than the male; ovary flask-shaped, glabrous, stalked, with sessile stigmas.
S. triandra is of wide distribution in temperate Eurasia. It is one of the most valuable of the basket-willows, and has been so widely planted that its natural distribution in the British Isles is uncertain, but it is probably genuinely native in south-east and parts of central England in wet, low-lying places. The osiers known under the trade names of ‘Black Hollander’, ‘Black Italian’, ‘Black Mauls’, ‘French’, ‘Jelstiver’, ‘Mottled Spaniards’, ‘Pomeranian’, all belong to this species.
var. hoffmanniana (Sm.) Bab. S. hoffmanniana Sm. – A shrubby tree to about 12 ft high with interlacing branches, forming a dense crown. Leaves narrow-ovate, rounded at the base, green beneath, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. long. Stipules more persistent than is usual in S. triandra. Male catkins rather dense. This minor variant was discovered by William Borrer in Sussex; Sir James Smith, who described it in 1828, identified it with the willow figured as S. triandra in Hoffmann’s Salices (1785), whence the specific epithet. The var. hoffmanniana is found in various parts of Britain, though not commonly. Nearly all the plants are male and may belong to a single clone, though there is no obvious reason why this willow should have been planted, as it is unsuitable for any practical purpose.
S. triandra varies in the size and relative width of its leaves, and in the colouring of their undersurface. Plants with the leaves green beneath are considered to represent the typical state of the species; those that have them glaucous beneath are sometimes distinguished as var. discolor Anderss. (or even as a subspecies). S. medwedewii Dode, shrubby, with very narrow leaves, intensely glaucous beneath, is included in S. triandra by A. K. Skvortsov in Fl. Iranica. It was described in 1908 from plants introduced to France from the Caucasus and could be regarded as a cultivar of S. triandra – cv. ‘Medwedewii’.
S. nipponica Franch. & Sav. ? S. subfragilis Anderss.; S. triandra var. nipponica (Franch. & Sav.) Seem.; S. t. subsp. nipponica (Franch. & Sav.) A. K. Skvortsov – This species, perhaps no more than a race of S. triandra, is a native of Japan and continental N.E. Asia, reaching almost as far west as the eastern limit of S. triandra. The differential characters given by von Seemen are: leaves more downy when young; leaves under the catkins almost entire; catkins denser-flowered. Skvortsov distinguishes it (as a subspecies) only by its branchlets being covered when mature with a pruinose bloom.