What's new in the wonderful world of willow...

June 2014:

Issuance of U.S. Plant Patent for 'Preble' Cultivar

Through collborative efforts between multiple instiutions we are pleased to announce the issuance of a U.S. plant patent for the shrub willow cultivar 'Preble.'

To review the official plant patent please visit:


May 2014:

New Publication Now Available

Genetic Evidence for Three Discrete Taxa of Melampsora (Pucciniales) Affecting Willows (Salix spp.) in New York State

Shawn C. Kenaley, Lawrence B. Smart, George W. Hudler


Rust fungi in the genus Melampsora (Pucciniales) are the most important pathogens of shrub willows (Salix spp.) cultivated for biomass in New York State and temperate regions worldwide. The taxonomy and species identification of these fungi historically have been problematic as they are morphologically indistinguishable on willow and often have complex life histories. Melampsora of Salix in North America, therefore, have been circumscribed to the collective species Melampsoraepitea Thüm. and further delineated to formae speciales by aecial host. Ribosomal DNA (rDNA) data was obtained from 75 collections/isolates of Melampsora in NY State affecting either native and cultivated Salix spp. or suspected alternate hosts. Maximum likelihood (ML), maximum parsimony (MP), and Bayesian (BI) analyses were conducted on three data partitions (individual and concatenated): complete internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and partial large subunit (LSU) rDNA sequences for all collections. Analyses of the ITS and concatenated ITS-LSU sequences revealed that Melampsora on native and cultivated willows in NY State consisted of three phylogenetically delineable taxa (phylotaxa); monophyly for each phylotaxon was strongly supported by ML, MP, and BI credibility values. Phylotaxa were also delimited phylogenetically by aecial host: Alpine currant (Ribes alpinum), eastern larch (Larixlaricina), or balsam fir (Abiesbalsamea).


Access to the full article can be found below:


March 2014:

New Publication Now Available

Early Selection of Novel Triploid Hybrids of Shrub Willow with Improved Biomass Yield Relative to Diploids

Michelle J. Serapiglia, Fred E. Gouker and Lawrence B. Smart


Background: Genetic improvement of shrub willow (Salix), a perennial energy crop common to temperate climates, has led to the development of new cultivars with improved biomass yield, pest and disease resistance, and biomass composition suitable for bioenergy applications. These improvements have largely been associated with species hybridization, yet little is known about the genetic mechanisms responsible for improved yield and performance of certain willow species hybrids.

Results:The top performing genotypes in this study, representing advanced pedigrees compared with those in previous studies, were mostly triploid in nature and outperformed current commercial cultivars. Of the genotypes studied, the diploids had the lowest mean yield of 8.29 oven dry Mg ha−1 yr−1, while triploids yielded 12.65 Mg ha−1 yr−1, with the top five producing over 16 Mg ha−1 yr−1. Triploids had high stem area and height across all three years of growth in addition to greatest specific gravity. The lowest specific gravity was observed among the tetraploid genotypes. Height was the early trait most correlated with and the best predictor of third-year yield.

Conclusions:These results establish a paradigm for future breeding and improvement of Salix bioenergy crops based on the development of triploid species hybrids. Stem height and total stem area are effective traits for early prediction of relative yield performance.


Access to the full article can be found below:


To see a full list of publications, please visit our Research Page


For more information, contact Dr. Larry Smart (


planting shrub willow at Loomis


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