Dec. 29, 2021

silky willow, Salix sericea

Silky willow, like all of its relatives, has no flower petals. These small trees grows in thickets and open areas where conditions are well suited for wind pollination. So they are wind pollinated, right? I always took that for granted, despite observing numerous bugs visiting the flowers. Eventually, the truth dawns! Then along comes a careful scientific study comparing seed production in another species where they controlled for types of pollination. Both wind and insect pollination occurred. Wind pollinated flowers only had about a 10% pollination rate. The bugs get a little over 90%! Silky willow and its pollinators can be seen in swampy areas in AL, AR, CT, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV, NB, NS, and QC. Midland Co MI, 3/25/12. Willow family, Salicaceae.