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Introduction to the Willows of California (Salicaceae)

California is home to one third of the estimated 120 willow species growing in North America. Cottonwoods and willows are the most common riparian hardwood species in California and yet many of us have little idea of how to tell them apart. Species identification is often neglected because willows are thought to frequently hybridize, which is further compounded by only having vegetative material during field visits when we think we need flowers to make a positive identification. The workshop will focus on the leaf, stem, and other vegetative growth characteristics that are useful in making identification while also emphasizing the regional distributions of the different species. The goal of the workshop is to instill confidence about vegetative characteristics used in the identification keys in The Jepson Manual (2nd edition) and familiarize participants with the six most common willows in California.

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