Salix pseudomonticola : False Mountain Willow


Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae


Class: Dicoteldonae (two seed-leaves)

Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)

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

Species: pseudomonticola

Synonym(s): S.monticola, S.padophylla

English Name(s):

False Mountain Willow, Mountain Willow

First Nation Names:




  • Upright shrub often 2-3m or more in height.
  • Branches dark reddish brown to yellow-brown, glossy.
  • Branchlets yellow-green, glabrous (hiarless) or nearly so.


  • Alternate.
  • Buds of all salix spp. (Willows) are covered by a single scale.
  • Thin, narrowly ovate-elliptic to obovate in shape.
  • Coming to a sharp tip, rounded at base.
  • Leaves of firtile shoots 4-6cm long and almost half as wide.
  • Leaves of sterile shoots 6-8cm long with almost 1cm long stipules (leafy appendages).
  • Upper surface green and glabrous (hairless).
  • Lower surface glaucous (blueish waxy), prominently veined.
  • Margins glandular crenate-serrulate (round toothed).
  • Young leaves often reddish purple, translucent.

Reproductive Parts:

  • Flowers lacking a parianth(sepals + petals). Born in cylindrical catkins.
  • Plants dioecious (uni-sexual).
  • Catkins appearing before leaves, sessile (stalkless), or on very short branchlets.
  • Pistillate catkins (female) 4-9cm long, pistils about 4.5mm long, green glabrous (hairless).
  • Nectaries 1, about one half to two thirds long as stipes (stalks).
  • Bracts narrowly oblong, 1.2-2.4mm logn, dark brown, or bicolour in some.


  • Fruit a dehiscent (splitting open) capsule containing numerous small seeds.
  • Seed Capsules (mature pistils) 5.5-6.5mm long, glabrous (hairless).

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 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.


  • Thicket forming on alluvial riverbanks, Picea mariana (Black Spruce) muskegs, and Populus balsamifera (Balsam Poplar) forests.






      Traditional Gwich'in:





              Traditional Other:






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

                      Illustration from: Illustrated Flora of BC

                      Range Maps

                      World Range: Boreal North America; from Hudson Bay to central AK, south in the cordilleran chain to CO and MN.

                      Prov/State Abrev. List

                      In Yukon: North to the Peel River.

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