Scientific name Salix cinerea – Galium palustre woodland
Common name Grey Willow – Marsh Bedstraw woodland
Community code WL3E


WL3E: Salix cinerea – Galium palustre woodland  WL3E: Salix cinerea – Galium palustre woodland  WL3E map: Salix cinerea – Galium palustre woodland

Download full pdf synopsis: WL3E



The low canopy of this community is dominated by Salix cinerea and Betula pubescens. Fraxinus excelsior and Crataegus monogyna are frequent, but Alnus glutinosa is only occasional. The field layer is composed typically of Galium palustre, Filipendula ulmaria, Rubus fruticosus agg., Hedera helix, Angelica sylvestris and Mentha aquatica. Frequent species include Equisetum fluviatile, Ranunculus repens, Agrostis stolonifera, Molinia caerulea, Cardamine pratensis, Valeriana officinalis, Carex nigra and Iris pseudacorus. The main bryophytes are Calliergonella cuspidata, Hypnum cupressiforme and Kindbergia praelonga.



This is a wet woodland community of basin peats and less frequently of gley soils found on flat ground in the lowlands. Soil conditions are rather infertile and only mildly base-rich. It is sometimes found in association with degraded bogland, but also along rivers and lake margins.



No sub-communities have been described for this community.


Similar communities

The community may be viewed as transitional between the mesotrophic, base-rich wet woodlands of group WL3 and the oligotrophic, acidic wet woodlands of group WL4. Stands could thus be confused with those of WL4E; however, that community more commonly supports acidic indicators such as Molinia caerulea, Scleropodium purum, and Potentilla erecta. From the other willow woodland communities (WL3D and WL3F), these stands can be differentiated largely by the significant presence of Betula pubescens.


Conservation value

This is a species-rich woodland community with a diverse bryophyte flora. Stands along rivers and lakes which are subject to periodic inundation qualify as EU Annex I habitat 91E0 Residual alluvial forests*.



The main threats to these woodlands include changes to hydrological regimes, overgrazing by livestock (usually cattle), woodland clearance and invasion by non-native species.