Scientific Name: Salix jejuna
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Newfoundland and Labrador
Last COSEWIC Assessment: May 2001
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Image of Barrens Willow
The Barrens Willow is a dwarf, woody shrub that forms small mats, and reaches 1 to 2 cm in height. It has trailing branches 10 to 40 cm long. The stems and branchlets are reddish-brown and hug the ground. Leaves are elliptic or almost circular with a waxy upper surface and in-rolled edges. Dense clusters of inconspicuous flowers called catkins grow just below the previous year’s shoots at the tip of the branchlets. Male and female catkins grow on separate plants.
Distribution and Population
The Barrens Willow is unique to Canada. Its range is restricted to a narrow stretch of coast extending north from Four Mile Cove to Cape Norman at the end of Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula off the Strait of Belle Isle. Populations occur at four locations: Cape Norman, Lower Cove, Big Brook and Four Mile Cove. Very little is known about population numbers and trends, but the species continues to occur in its historical range. The largest population is on Cape Norman, where the species occurs at numerous sites, with a total of 33 plants. At the other three locations, one to several specimens have been observed.
The Barrens Willow is found only on the narrow coastal stretch of limestone barrens in the Strait of Belle Isle ecoregion. It grows in exposed gravely and rocky limestone areas with little vegetation and a thin layer of low-nutrient soil. It may grow in moist depressions where gravel and silt accumulate between large blocks of limestone and where seasonal flooding occurs. It can also grow in dry, exposed areas. The region is characterized by cool summers and cold winters.
The Barrens Willow is adapted to life in a harsh environment. It grows only in calcium-rich soil. Male and female flowers, which grow on separate plants, develop in late June or early July and are pollinated by insects or wind. The seeds are wind-dispersed. A very high percentage of seeds germinate if conditions are right. This species may also reproduce by producing roots from spreading underground stems. An individual specimen may live up to 100 years.
Harsh winds and scarce nutrients limit Barrens Willow numbers. Its habitat is also eroded by wind and water. Plants near the ocean may be subject to damaging storm wave action, flooding and salt spray. The Barrens Willow is threatened by habitat loss and damage caused by humans. Removal of limestone from quarries, road maintenance, all-terrain vehicle use and garbage dumping degrade the plants and their habitat. Entanglement in fishing nets spread over the plants to dry may also cause damage.
Federal ProtectionThe Barrens Willow is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
The Barrens Willow is protected by the Newfoundland and Labrador Endangered Species Act. Under this Act, it is prohibited to kill, harm, trade, or possess members of this species. This species occurs within the provincial Watt’s Point Ecological Reserve.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna Fernald) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
Limestone Barrens Species at Risk Recovery Team, NL
Susan Squires - Chair/Contact - Government of NL
Phone: 709-637-2963 Fax: 709-637-2080 Send Email
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
4 record(s) found.
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Action Plans (2 record(s) found.)
- Residence Description (1 record(s) found.)
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