New York Natural Heritage Program
Sand Dune Willow
Salix cordata Michx.

General Description [-]
Sand dune willow grows as scattered shrubs 3-12 feet high but shrubs taller than 6 feet are rare. The small-diameter stems, subjected to constant winds, arch upward from the base. The twigs are covered with white to grayish matted hairs that fall off with age to reveal a smooth, dark reddish bark. The leaves grow at the tops of the stems and are covered with white hairs when young but they become a more lustrous green above as they mature. They are lance-shaped, 3-10 cm long, with pointed, sometimes long-pointed, tips and broad, rounded bases. The edges are toothed with little glands on the teeth. The veins are prominent on the lower surface. The stipules at the base of the stout petiole are large, obvious and heart-shaped. The catkins emerge with the leaves and are 5-8 cm long. The scales are brown and covered with dense long hairs. The fruit capsules are smooth and arranged horizontally when mature.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
Having plants with leaves and flowers or fruits is best, but people familiar with this plant should be able to identify it vegetatively.

Similar Species [-]
Salix rigida has mature blades that are one sixth to one third as broad as long. Salix eriocephala has leaves that are dark green above, glaucous beneath, narrower. No other willow has the same leaf length to width ratio and broad leaf base as Salix cordata.
Sand Dune Willow Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
This shrub flowers May through June and is in fruit late June through July. Due to its specific habitat and unique leaf shape, surveys may be conducted at any point during the growing season.
Vegetative Flowering Fruiting
The time of year you would expect to find Sand Dune Willow vegetative (blue shading), flowering (green shading) and fruiting (orange shading) in New York.