Salix lucida (ssp. lasiandra) - Pacific Willow

Family: Salicaceae
Wetland Indictor Status: FACW+

General Species Description

Salix lucida is a common native Salix that grows in to a broad crowned tree up to 20m tall and 60cm thick dbh. Bark is smooth and gray when young and becomes vertically ridged and dark gray or brown when mature. Young twigs and leafs are hairy and red; mature stems smooth and green.


Leaves are alternate simple, and frequently long, narrow, and lance shaped (5-15cm) with very fine serrations. Older leaves are glossy. Leaf buds are red to orange and duckbill shaped. Floral bracts at base of stem are common on younger stems. Two or more glands at base of leaf distinguish this species.


Males and female flowers are borne separately in long, thick catkins. Staminate catkins are 2-7 cm long and 1-1.5cm wide. Male flower has 4-8 stamens. Pistillate catkins are 3-12cm long. Capsules are a narrow pear-shape and from 4-8mm long.


Capsules are lanceoloid, up to 1/3 inch long, and smooth.


Along streams, lakes, ponds.


Salix lucida is widespread in the Pacific Northwest and northern rockies. Extends south along Southern California coast and into portions of northern Arizona and New Mexico.

Similar Species

Salix lucida is might be confused with Salix sessilifolia (Soft-leaved wilow) which has shorter leaves (~8cm long) or Salix Rigida (Yellow Willow), an obligate wetland species. However, both lack the glands at the base of the leaf that distinguish Salix lucida.

Ecological Value

Salix lucida is also a major source of food for beaver. Deer and elk may browse on the young shoots.

Human Value

Like other Salix species that reproduce asexually from stems, Salix lucida is quick to colonize riparian areas and thus is commonly used in bioengineering and bank stabilization. Due to its height, Salix lucida is particularly beneficial in providing shade along small streams.

The fresh bark of all members of this genus contains salicin, which probably decomposes into salicylic acid (closely related to aspirin) in the human body. Native Americans use to chew on willow leaves as a mild pain killer.


Cooke, S. S., ed. 1997. A Field Guide to the Common Wetland Plants of Western Washington & Northwest Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society and Washington Native Plant Society. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle WA, 69pp.

Hitchcock, C. L. and A. Cronquist. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle WA, 66pp.

B. J. Guard. 1995.Wetland Plants of Oregon & Washington. Lone Star Publishing, Richmond WA, 187pp.

This page was created by: Jim Labbe, August 1998

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