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Salix humilis (Prairie willow)
Smith, R.W.

Salix humilis

Salix humilis Marshall

Prairie Willow

Salicaceae (Willow Family)


USDA Symbol: sahu2

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

Mounded shrub, 6-10 ft. tall, which often forms thickets. Ascending, wand-like branches are yellowish to brown. Gray-green to blue-green foliage has insignificant fall color. Greenish catkins appear before leaves emerge.


From the Image Gallery

8 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall.
Leaf: Dark Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Brown

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Green , Purple , Brown
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Nf. to MN & Man., s. to VA, MO & e. KS; local to FL & e. TX
Native Habitat: Alluvial areas; boggy openings in pine woods; low areas in prairies; dry barrens; balds

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry , Wet
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Various wet to dry soils.
Conditions Comments: Short-lived and fast-growing. Susceptible to wind damage.


Use Wildlife: Early season harvest for birds and mammals.
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

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

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Green Comma
(Polygonia faunus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Description: Willows are among the easiest of all plants to root from cuttings. Stem and root cuttings are used. Propagation is also accomplished by sowing fresh, untreated seed into a moist seedbed.
Commercially Avail: yes

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:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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