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Salix sitchensis

Salix sitchensis Sanson ex Bong.

Sitka Willow

Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Synonym(s): Salix coulteri, Salix cuneata, Salix sitchensis var. congesta, Salix sitchensis var. denudata, Salix sitchensis var. parviflora, Salix sitchensis var. ralphiana

USDA Symbol: SASI2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

Usually a large shrub or small tree, much-branched with rounded crown; a low shrub in exposed places.

Sitka Willow is easily recognized by the satiny sheen on the lower leaf surfaces. Native peoples used the flexible twigs for basketmaking and for stretching skins, and the pounded bark to heal wounds. As the smoke from Sitka Willow fires does not have a bad odor, the wood is used in drying fish. This species is named for Sitka, in southeastern Alaska, where it was first collected.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 25 feet tall.
Leaf: Yellow-Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AK , CA , ID , MT , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: Pacific Coast from SW. Alaska southeast to central California and east in mountains to W. Montana and central Alberta; mostly near sea level; inland locally to 5000' (1524 m).
Native Habitat: Moist soils, along beaches and streams and in open areas through coastal coniferous forests.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Salix sitchensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Salix sitchensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Salix sitchensis


Record Modified: 2022-12-14
Research By: TWC Staff

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