Salix lucida : Western Shining Willow


Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae


Class: Dicoteldonae (two seed-leaves)

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

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

Species: lucida

Synonym(s): S.lasiandra (var. lancifolia), (var. recomponens)

English Name(s):

Western Shining Willow, Shining Willow, Pacific Willow

First Nation Names:




  • Tall shrub up to 8m high, but ours rarely tree like.
  • Branches light brown, glabrescent (mostly hairless), or sparely lanate (wooly).
  • Branchlets reddish brown, lanate (woolly) to sparsely pubescent (hairy), or glabrescent (mostly hairless), brittle.


  • Alternate.
  • Buds of all salix spp. (Willows) are covered by a single scale.
  • Lanceolate in shape or with some leaves long-acuminate to caudate in shape.
  • 7-12cm long.
  • Margins glandular serrate-crenate to serrulate.
  • Immature leaves often reddish and densely lanate (woolly).
  • Mature leaves upper surface glabrescent, green, glossy.
  • Lower Surface sparesly pubescent (hairy), becoming glabrescent (mostly hairless).
  • Petiole (stalk) short, with 2 small glands at its base.

Reproductive Parts:

  • Flowers lacking a parianth(sepals + petals). Born in cylindrical catkins.
  • Plants dioecious (uni-sexual).
  • Catkins appearing with the leaves.
  • Pistillate catkins (female) 5-10cm long, on leafy peduncles (stalks).
  • Pedicels (stalks) short, slender.
  • Nectary 1, usually less than half as long as the stipe (stalk).
  • Bracts narrowly oblong in shape, acute, tawny coloured, pubescent (hiary) on lower half, deciduous (falling off) after flowering.
  • Staminate catkins (male) flowers have 5 stamens.


  • Fruit a dehiscent (splitting open) capsule containing numerous small seeds.
  • Seed capsules (mature pistils) glabrous (hairless), 5-7cm 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 exigua (Sandbar Willow) which can be distinguished by its smaller stature and is leaves being 10 times longer than wide.



  • 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.


  • Sandbars and mudflats.






      Traditional Gwich'in:





              Traditional Other:






                      Young male catkins and leaves (photo by Jamie Fenneman, e-Flora BC)

                      Illustration from: Illustrated Flora of BC

                      Range Maps

                      World Range: North America; from AK to SK, south to CA and NM.

                      Prov/State Abrev. List

                      In Yukon: Infrequent; sandbar and mudflats of the Yukon and Liard Rivers and their tributaries.

                      To Top Of Page