Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Salix myrtillifolia


SPECIES: Salix myrtillifolia
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Uchytil, Ronald J. 1992. Salix myrtillifolia. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : SALMYR SYNONYMS : Salix novae-angliae Anderss. Salix novae-angliae Anderss. ssp. myrtillifolia Salix novae-angliae Anderss. var. myrtillifolia Salix pseudo-myrsinites Anderss. Salix pseudocordata (Anderss.) Rydberg Salix myrtillifolia var. pseudomyrsinites (Anderss.) Ball ex Hulten SCS PLANT CODE : SAMY SAMYC COMMON NAMES : blueberry willow low blueberry willow tall blueberry willow TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of blueberry willow is Salix myrtillifolia Andersson [5,10,15]. Two varieties are recognized based on morphological differences: var. myrtillifolia = low blueberry willow (a small shrub less than 24 inches [60 cm] tall) var. cordata (Anderss.) Ball = tall blueberry willow (an upright shrub between 3 and 10 feet [1-3 m] tall) Tall blueberry willow is sometimes regarded as a distinct species S. novae-angliae (Anderss.). This paper is consistent with Dorn [10], who places S. novae-angliae in synonomy with S. myrtillifolia. Blueberry willow is a northern species that grows throughout western Canada and Alaska. Closely related plants in the contiguous United States have been misidentified as S. myrtillifolia in some western floras (Flora of Idaho [Davis 1952], Vascular Flora of the Pacific Northwest [Hitchcock et al 1964]). Dorn [10], in his 1975 revision of the Salix section Cordatae, showed these plants to be a distinct species, and named them Booth willow (S. boothii Dorn). A Utah Flora [28] and Field Guide to the Willows of East-Central Idaho [7], both published since Dorn's revision, accept his taxonomy and use the name S. boothii. LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Salix myrtillifolia
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Blueberry willow grows from interior Alaska east across northern Canada to Hudson and James Bay and south to southern British Columbia and southwestern Ontario. Outlying eastern populations occur on Prince Edward Island, and in New Brunswick and Newfoundland [10]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES44 Alpine STATES : AK AB BC MB NB NF NT ON PE SK YT BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K015 Western spruce - fir forest K052 Alpine meadows and barren K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K095 Great Lakes pine forest K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 12 Black spruce 16 Aspen 107 White spruce 201 White spruce 202 White spruce - paper birch 203 Balsam poplar 204 Black spruce 206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir 251 White spruce - aspen SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : No blueberry willow community descriptions were found in the literature.


SPECIES: Salix myrtillifolia
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Along the Tanana River in Alaska, tall blueberry willow was heavily browsed by moose [29]. In other studies, however, low and tall blueberry willow were lightly browsed by moose and considered an unimportant dietary component [18,30]. Willows (Salix spp.) are generally a preferred food and building material of beaver [1]. Willow shoots, catkins, leaves, and buds are eaten by numerous small mammals and birds [13]. PALATABILITY : In interior Alaska, blueberry willow is less palatable to moose than Alaska willow (S. alaxensis), sandbar willow (S. interior), littletree willow (S. arbusculoides), and tealeaf willow (S. planifolia ssp. pulchra) [18,30]. In general, moose prefer most willow species over birch (Betula spp.); aspen, poplar, and cottonwood (Populus spp.); or alder (Alnus spp.) [30]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Blueberry willow is relatively high in moisture, protein, and caloric content. In Alaska, blueberry willow is nutritionally similar to highly preferred moose browse species. Mean nutrient values were as follows [18]: protein (%) fat (%) crude fiber (%) ash (%) 6.4 3.5 27.7 2.9 COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Willow stem cuttings are commonly planted for restoration of wildlife habitat, streambank protection, and the reclamation of sites disturbed by mining and construction [20]. Blueberry willow is apparently well suited for these purposes. In the laboratory, blueberry willow stem cuttings taken in the spring readily produced roots [8]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : All willows produce salacin, which is closely related chemically to aspirin. Native Americans used various preparations from willows to treat tooth ache, bee sting, stomach ache, and diarrhea [14,19]. Native Americans also used flexible willow stems for making baskets, bows, arrows, scoops, and fish and muskrat traps [14]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Salix myrtillifolia
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Blueberry willow's two varieties differ significantly in growth form. Low blueberry willow is a much-branched, low-growing, and often prostrate shrub typically between 8 and 24 inches (20-60 cm) tall. Tall blueberry willow is an erect shrub often 6 to 8 feet (2.0-2.5 m) tall but is occasionally taller [26]. Both varieties have relatively small, simple, alternate, deciduous leaves. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants in 3/4- to 2-inch-long (1.5-5 cm) erect or ascending catkins. The fruit is a two-valved capsule [22,26]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Blueberry willow's primary mode of reproduction is sexual. It produces an abundance of small, lightweight seeds. Like most willows, it probably begins seed production at an early age (between 2 and 10 years) [13]. At maturity, the fruit splits open, releasing the seed. Each seed has a cottony down that aids in dispersal by wind and water. The seeds are dispersed during the growing season and remain viable for only about 1 week without moisture. Viable seeds will germinate within 24 hours of dispersal on moist seedbeds [6]. In germination tests, 97 to 100 percent of blueberry willow (both varieties) seeds germinated within 1 to 3 days at temperatures between 50 and 77 degrees F (10-25 C) [9]. Exposed mineral soils provide the best seedbed [6]. Vegetative reproduction: Most willows are prolific sprouters. It is assumed that blueberry willow also sprouts from the root crown or stembase if aboveground stems are broken or destroyed by cutting, flooding, or fire [13]. Detached stem fragments form adventitious roots if kept moist. Thus, tall blueberry willow stem fragments transported by floodwaters develop into new plants when deposited on riverbars [3,8]. In muskegs and bogs, low blueberry willow commonly reproduces by layering as the lower branches are overgrown with sphagnum [5]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Low blueberry willow typically occupies poorly drained bogs, swamps, and black spruce (Picea mariana) muskegs [10,26]. Tall blueberry willow occupies better drained sites. It is common in willow thickets along streambanks and riverbanks, and also grows along roadsides, lakeshores, and prairie margins [3,26]. It is common on siltbars and sandbars of the Tanana and Yukon Rivers [26]. Frequent associates include bog birch (Betula glandulosa), alder (Alnus spp.), balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera), and numerous species of willow [3,25,26]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Low blueberry willow is an early seral species that becomes locally abundant following disturbances which expose mineral soil and create an open canopy. It occurs in early seral stages following burning in low-lying black spruce stands [26]. Tall blueberry willow is also seral. It is one of the first willows to colonize recently deposited river alluvium on interior Alaska floodplains. Floodplain willow communities are short-lived; thinleaf alder (Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia) and balsam poplar typically establish within 5 years of initial willow colonization. By 20 to 30 years, poplars begin to overtop the brushy canopy and dominate. By this stage in succession, overstory shade has eliminated most tall blueberry willows, but some may persist as scattered individuals [24,25]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : In Alaska, low blueberry willow catkins appear after the leaves have begun to develop. Seeds are dispersed during the growing season, about mid-June [9,26]. In Alaska, tall blueberry willow catkins appear after the leaves have begun to develop. Flowering is in early to mid-June, seeds mature in late June to mid-July, and catkins fall in late July [26].


SPECIES: Salix myrtillifolia
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Information on blueberry willow's ability to sprout following fire is lacking. It is assumed that following top-kill by fire, this willow sprouts from the root crown like most other species of willow. Viereck and Schandelmeier [27] reported that even old, decadent willows produce sprouts prolifically immediately after fire. The sprouting ability of willows is apparently more vigorous and prolific than birches or alders [27]. Blueberry willow's abundant, wind-dispersed seeds are important in colonizing recently burned sites. The seed is dispersed in the summer and remains viable for only about 1 week; thus the season of a fire often determines if blueberry willow can establish during the first or subsequent postfire years [27]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex off-site colonizer; seed carried by wind; postfire years 1 and 2 off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1&2


SPECIES: Salix myrtillifolia
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Blueberry willow is sometimes present as scattered individuals in black or white spruce (Picea glauca) forests. Severe fires in these vegetation types can kill willows by completely removing soil organic layers and charring the roots [31]. Less severe fires only top-kill plants. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Blueberry willow's density probably increases shortly after burning. However, it is shade intolerant,and density will decline as young trees overtop it. Viereck and Little [26] noted that low blueberry willow became locally abundant in the early successional stages that follow fire in low-lying black spruce types. Tall blueberry willow seeded onto clearcut and burned white spruce floodplain forests in interior Alaska [33]. Burning on these sites exposed much mineral soil, which provided excellent seedbeds for the invading willow. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : Fire severity affects the mode of willow postfire recovery. Following light-severity fires most willows recover quickly, sending up new shoots from undamaged root crowns. Few if any seedlings establish following this type of fire because the partially consumed organic soil layers comprise an unfavorable seedbed. Following severe fire, however, the primary mode of recovery is seedling establishment. Severe fires that burn into organic soils kill willows, but expose mineral soils which provide excellent seedbeds [32]. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Salix myrtillifolia
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Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 177 p. [6171] 21. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 22. Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life Sciences Misc. Publ. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p. [12907] 23. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 24. Viereck, Leslie A. 1970. Forest succession and soil development adjacent to the Chena River in interior Alaska. Arctic and Alpine Research. 2(1): 1-26. [12466] 25. Viereck, Leslie A. 1989. Flood-plain succession and vegetation classification in interior Alaska. In: Ferguson, Dennis E.; Morgan, Penelope; Johnson, Frederic D., compilers. Proceedings--land classifications based on vegetation: applications for resource management; 1987 November 17-19; Moscow, ID. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-257. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 197-203. [6959] 26. Viereck, Leslie A.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1972. Alaska trees and shrubs. Agric. Handb. 410. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 265 p. [6884] 27. Viereck, Leslie A.; Schandelmeier, Linda A. 1980. Effects of fire in Alaska and adjacent Canada--a literature review. BLM-Alaska Tech. Rep. 6. Anchorage, AK: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Mangement, Alaska State Office. 124 p. [7075] 28. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944] 29. Wolff, Jerry O. 1976. Utilization of hardwood browse by moose on the Tanana flood plain of interior Alaska. Res. Note PNW-267. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 7 p. [16870] 30. Wolff, Jerry O.; Zasada, John C. 1979. Moose habitat and forest succession on the Tanana river floodplain and Yukon-Tanana upland. In: Proceedings, North American Moose Conference and Workshop No 15; [Date of conference unknown]; Kenai, AK. [Place of publication unknown]. [Publisher unknown]. 213-244. [6860] 31. Zasada, J. 1986. Natural regeneration of trees and tall shrubs on forest sites in interior Alaska. In: Van Cleve, K.; Chapin, F. S., III; Flanagan, P. W.; [and others], eds. Forest ecosystems in the Alaska taiga: A synthesis of structure and function. New York: Springer-Verlag: 44-73. [2291] 32. Zasada, J. C.; Viereck, L. A. 1975. The effect of temperature and stratification on germination on selected members of Salicaceae in interior Alaska. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 5(2): 333-337. [6989] 33. Dyrness, C. T.; Viereck, L. A.; Foote, M. J.; Zasada, J. C. 1988. The effect on vegetation and soil temperature of logging flood-plain white spruce. Res. Pap. PNW-RP-392. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 45 p. [7471]

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