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2337 Views 4 Replies Last post: Feb 20, 2013 3:09 PM by clueless RSS
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Feb 17, 2013 3:57 PM

Any ideas on what this tree might be?

I found this young tree (at least I think it's that and not a shrub) in the New Forest (Hampshire). It looks vaguely familiar but I don't know what it is - efforts to use online search engines have been futile so I thought I'd post the picture here.


The most obvious feature is the cluster of small round leaves at the base of each big one. Is that unique to a certain type of plant?


Any ideas are welcome, I need to identify this before my dissertation deadline in a few weeks!

unknown2 a.JPG

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    Feb 17, 2013 10:02 PM (in response to clueless)
    Re: Any ideas on what this tree might be?

    Common sallow (Salix cinerea), or a close hybrid.

    The 'cluster of small leaves' are leaf-like processes called stipules. Many types of plant have them.

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        Feb 19, 2013 6:03 AM (in response to clueless)
        Re: Any ideas on what this tree might be?

        Read this extract from The Plant Crib (which you should have if you're doing any pretty much any botanical field recording in the British Isles) -


        You may find the leaf shapes diagram useful, but bear in mind what it implies - you simply may not be able to make a confident identification. That's not only due to variation in each of the species (Salix aurita, S. caprea, S. cinerea), but also the existence of hybrids - which really muddles things up!.


        I agree wholeheartedly with its opening statement:

        "The BSBI Handbook Willows and Poplars of Great Britain and Ireland by R. D. Meikle (1984) is highly

        recommended, if not essential, for identification of Salix."

        And see also:

        Howitt, R. C. L. & Howitt, B. M. (1990).  Willows. In: 'A guide to some difficult plants'. Pp. 28-41. Publ. Wild Flower Society, London


        I ought to make comment about your recording scheme and aggregate species.

        Where several species are difficult to distinguish, especially in the field, (they may require microscopic examination), the concept of an 'aggregate species' is often employed. Discuss this with your recording scheme coordinator and/or look in its accompanying notes/FAQ/guidelines and in its checklist of species (against which your records would be ticked off). You may find Salix caprea listed as Salix caprea agg. You could also find from the guidelines that you should enter it as Salix aff. caprea - in acknowledgement of the fact that you think it has affinities with S. caprea but cannot be sure it is actually that species. Without these taxonomic devices, a lot of time can be wasted in the field, and the effective quality of the data of the whole recording scheme can be reduced because naming a species precisely (where precision cannot be had) reduces the overall reliability of species determination.

        You could find agg. species with Taraxacum and other taxa.


        Good luck.

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