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Salix scouleriana

Salix scouleriana Barratt ex Hook.

Scouler's Willow, Western Pussy Willow

Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Synonym(s): Salix brachystachys, Salix brachystachys var. scouleriana, Salix capreoides, Salix flavescens, Salix flavescens var. capreoides, Salix flavescens var. scouleriana, Salix nuttallii, Salix nuttallii var. capreoides, Salix scouleriana var. brachystachys, Salix scouleriana var. coetanea, Salix scouleriana var. crassijulis, Salix scouleriana var. flavescens, Salix scouleriana var. poikila, Salix scouleriana var. thompsonii, Salix stagnalis

USDA Symbol: sasc

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

Scoulers willow or western pussy willow is a tall shrub or tree, usually growing to 30 ft., with dark green, broadly lance-shaped leaves clustered at the ends of the twigs. Stems are slender with gray-green bark. Silvery-gray, furry catkins appear before leaf emergence. Freshly stripped bark of twigs usually has skunklike odor.

This species is sometimes called "Fire Willow" because it rapidly occupies burned areas, forming blue-green thickets. A pussy willow and one of the earliest flowering species, it is an important browse plant for moose in Alaska and for sheep and cattle elsewhere. It is one of several species sometimes forming "diamond willow"; these stems with diamond-shaped patterns caused by fungi are in demand for canes, novelties, and furniture posts. It is named for its discoverer, John Scouler (1804-71), the Scottish naturalist and physician.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: Up to about 60 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC , SK
Native Distribution: W. mt. regions from AK & Yukon to CA, AZ & NM; extends e. in Canada to Man. & occurs in the Black Hills
Native Habitat: Stream banks, sloughs & drier areas from low- to mid-elevations

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist to drier soils.
Conditions Comments: Fast-growing.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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


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 onto a moist seedbed. Seed viability lasts only a few days.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: No treatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

View propagation protocol from Native Plants 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:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America - beta site (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-11
Research By: TWC Staff

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