Salix pseudomyrsinites : Tall Blueberry Willow


Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae


Class: Dicoteldonae (two seed-leaves)

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

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

Species: pseudomyrsinites

Synonym(s): S.novae-angliae, S.pseudocordata, S.myrtillifolia

English Name(s):

Tall Blueberry Willow, False Myrtle-leaved Willow

First Nation Names:





  • Alternate.
  • Buds of all salix spp. (Willows) are covered by a single scale.
  • Narrowly elliptic to narrowly obovate in shape.
  • LArgest leaves 3.2-6.8cm long and 1.0-2.7cm wide.
  • Margins crenate (round toothed) or glandular crenate-serrulate (serrated).
  • Immature leaves reddish and villous (woolly).
  • Upper surface of mature leaves glabrescent (becoming hairless), but with midrib remaining pubescent (hairy) with white or sometimes rusty hairs.
  • Lower surface usually glabrescent (becoming hairless), glossy and pale green.

Reproductive Parts:

  • Flowers lacking a parianth(sepals + petals). Born in cylindrical catkins.
  • Plants dioecious (uni-sexual).
  • Catkins appearing with the leaves on leafy branchlets.
  • Styles 0.5-0.9mm long.
  • Stipes (stalks) 0.8-1.4mm long.
  • Nectaries about 1/4 as long as the stipes (stalks).
  • Bracts oblong in shape, usually bicoloured, pubescent (hairy) with long wavy trichomes (hair like growths) or gabrescent (becoming hairless).


  • Fruit a dehiscent (splitting open) capsule containing numerous small seeds.
  • Seed capsules green, glabrous (hairless),4.4-6.4mm long.

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 mytifolia (Myrtle-leaved Willow) which this species used to be a subspecies of. Myrtle-leaved Willow can be distinguished by its lower often decumbent stature, and shorter styles.



  • 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 with 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.


  • In thickets on shores of lakes and streams, muskegs, and prairie margins.






      Traditional Gwich'in:





              Traditional Other:






                      Leaves and mature female catkins (photo by Jamie Fenneman, e-Flora BC)

                      Illustration from: Illustrated Flora of BC

                      Range Maps

                      World Range: North American; from central AK to southern NT, east to SK, south to CA. (map shows world range of S.myrtillifolia)

                      Prov/State Abrev. List

                      In Yukon: Occasional north to latitude 65N.

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