Salix scouleriana : Scouler's Willow


Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae


Class: Dicoteldonae (two seed-leaves)

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Genera: Salix (Willows) (Classic Latin name for willow)

Species: scouleriana

English Name(s):

Scouler's Willow,

First Nation Names:




  • Shrub or small tree.
  • Branches dark reddish brown to yellow-brown, glossy, pubescent (hairy).
  • Branchlets densely pubescent (hairy).


  • Alternate.
  • Buds of all salix spp. (Willows) are covered by a single scale.
  • 5-8cm long rather thick and firm.
  • Obovate, elliptic to narrowly-elliptic in shape.
  • Acute ar tip, cuneate at base.
  • Margins entire (smooth) to glandular serrate (toothed).
  • Immature leaves velvety.
  • Upper surface becoming dark.
  • Lower surface shiny and glabrescent, charactaristically rust-coloured beneith because of emergence from beneath velvety pubescence of variously branched thick flattened and shiny reddish brown trichomes (hair like growths).
  • Petioles (stalks) permanently hoary (grayish white).
  • Stipules (leaf appendages) minute or lacking.

Reproductive Parts:

  • Flowers lacking a parianth(sepals + petals). Born in cylindrical catkins.
  • Plants dioecious (uni-sexual).
  • Catkins sessile (stalkless) apearing before leaves.
  • Pistillate catkins (female) 2-5cm long.
  • Pistils 4.8-5.0mm long, gray-green, densely sericious (silky).
  • Nectaries 1, 1/3 to 1/2 as long as the stipes (stalks).
  • Bracts narrowly elliptic, acuminate (slender pointed).


  • Fruit a dehiscent (splitting open) capsule containing numerous small seeds.
  • Seed capsules 4.5-11.0mm long, permanently hoary (grayish white), black, or bicolour in some under long silky pubescence (hairs).

Not to Be Confused With:

  • Many of the erect shrub Salix (Willow) species can be hard to distinguish from each other. Useing the Keys and especially the Character Chart Key on the Salicaceae (Willow Family) Page should help.
  • Salix alaxensis (Alaskan Willow) which can be distinguished by is longer pistillate (female) catkins and its persistent (not falling off) stipules(leaf appendages).



  • Are insect pollenated. Both male and female flowers have nectaries to attract pollenating insects. Male pollen is also brightly coloured red or yellow to attract insects.
  • Several types of galls can be seen on willows. These are deformations of plant tissue caused by the physical actions or chemical secretions of insects.
  • Willow Roses are a type of gall that grows on some species of willow. It is caused by the larvae of Cecidomyia rosaria. The larvae through chemical secretions cause the leaves of the bud to grow in a rose petal like fashion.

Life Cycle:

Seasonal Cycle:

  • Leaves and catkins deciduous.
  • Catkins appearing before the leaves.


Animal Uses:

  • In spring and early summer the catkins and young leaves are eagerly eaten by many mammals and birds.
  • Moose, caribou and deer all eat the twigs and young branches.
  • The twigs and bark are eaten by hares and lemmings.
  • Willow is an important food for bears and a secondary food for beavers.
  • Willow is an important food for many animals.
  • Winter buds are one of the principle winter foods of ptarmigan and grouse.


  • Well-drained not too densely wooded slopes or riverbanks.






      Traditional Gwich'in:





              Traditional Other:






                      Leaves (photo by Jamie Fenneman, e-Flora BC)

                      Illustration from: Illustrated Flora of BC

                      Range Maps

                      World Range: Boreal and Cordilleran North America; from MB to central and southern AK, south to CA and NM.

                      Prov/State Abrev. List

                      In Yukon: North to about latitude 64.30N, with a disjunct location on the Procupine River near AK border.

                      To Top Of Page