Salix bebbiana : Bebb's Willow


Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae


Class: Dicoteldonae (two seed-leaves)

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

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

Species: bebbiana (Named for Michael Schuck Bebb, 1833-1895, a botanist who studied the Willows.)

Synonym(s): S.rostrata, S.depressa ssp. rostrata

English Name(s):

Bebb's Willow, Beaked / Long-beaked / Diamond Willow

First Nation Names:




  • Shrub or small tree up to 6m or more high.
  • Branches reddish brown, widely divergent, pubescent (hairy) to glabrous (no hairs).
  • Branchlets densely pubescent with shaggy hairs.


  • Alternate.
  • Buds of all salix spp. (Willows) are covered by a single scale.
  • Elliptic to oblanceolate to obovate in shape.
  • 2-6cm long and about half as wide.
  • Acute to obtuse at tip.
  • Round to obtuse at base.
  • Margins entire (smooth) to crenate (round toothed).
  • Surfaces tomentos (fuzzy) when young, glabrescent (nearly hairless) or glabrous (hairless) in age.
  • Petioles (stalks) 2-9 mm long, pubescent (hairy).
  • Stipules (leaf appendages) deciduous.

Reproductive Parts:

  • Flowers lacking a parianth(sepals + petals). Born in cylindrical catkins.
  • Plants dioecious (uni-sexual).
  • Catkins appearing with the leaves on leafy peduncles (stalks), often lax and nodding.
  • Pistillate catkins (female) 3-5cm long, losely flowered.
  • Stipes (stalks) 3-4mm long.
  • Nectaries short about one tenth as long as stipes (stalks).
  • Bracts narrowly long acuminate tawny in colour, pubescent (hairy).
  • Styles short almost obsolete.


  • Fruit a dehiscent (splitting open) capsule containing numerous small seeds.
  • Seed capsules (mature pistils) long beaked, 6-8mm long, greenish or rarly reddish, sericeous (silky) becomeing gray-pubescent (hairy), not crowded.

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.



  • 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.


  • A common component in the understory in open Picea glauca (White Spruce), Betula papyrifera (Paper Birch), and Populus tremuloides (Trembling Aspen) woodland.
  • Wet to dry sites in woods, burned areas, and along roads.
  • Dry well-drained riverbanks and uplands, wet lowland thickets, and prairie margins.






      Traditional Gwich'in:





              Traditional Other:






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

                      Illustration from: Illustrated Flora of BC

                      Range Maps

                      World Range: Boreal North American; from NL and LB to AK, north to near limit of trees, south to DE, NM, and CA

                      Prov/State Abrev. List

                      In Yukon: North to about latitude 64.30' N, disjunct to Peel and Porcupine Rivers.

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