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A shrub 3 to 10 ft high, forming a cluster of erect stems; young branchlets viscid and usually glabrous. Leaves viscid, ovate, or roundish oval, 1 to 31⁄2 in. long, 5⁄8 to 3 in. wide, unevenly and sharply toothed, rounded or broadly wedge-shaped at the base, mostly abruptly pointed; dark green and glabrous above, green and downy on the midrib and veins beneath; stalk about 1⁄3 in. long. Male catkins opening in April and May with the leaves, 2 to 3 in. long. Fruits 5⁄8 in. long, oval, slender-stalked, borne in loose racemes.
Native of the mountains of Central and S.E. Europe; introduced in 1820. The leaves are variable in the degree of hairiness, and forms markedly downy on both sides at maturity are named f. mollis (Beck) Hegi. Several varieties have been distinguished, based on form and size of leaf etc., of which one of the most distinct is:
Furlow accepts the judgement that A. crispa (page 284) should be regarded as a subspecies of A. viridis. It has a wide distribution in the northerly parts of North America, while A. viridis subsp. sinuata (see A. sinuata, page 282) is confined to the Pacific region from Alaska southwards and also occurs in parts of adjacent Siberia.
In central Europe A. viridis is a variable species, and numerous varieties and forms have been described, of which var. pumila is only one. More distinct is:
† subsp. suaveolens (Requien) P. W. Ball A. suaveolens Requien – Leaves orbicular or nearly so, rounded or slightly acuminate at the apex, glabrous beneath except for axillary tufts. An endemic of Corsica. In cultivation at Kew.
A. viridis var. brembana (Rota) Callier
A. brembana Rota
A. v. var. parvifolia Reg