The Pacific willow is considered one of the tallest native willows, growing 1-9 metres tall. It has long, pointed leaves and shiny, reddish brown branches. The buds of the leaves are a yellow colour and are shaped like a duckbill. It produces thick catkins that are 5 centimetres long and yellow. When mature, they turn into a white fuzzy cotton.
RANGE & HABITAT
The Pacific willow can be found throughout the northern region and is common in the lower half of B.C. and always at low elevations. Places like lakeshores and floodplains are common habitat for the willow as well as along streams, swampy areas and on slopes.
The flowers or catkins of the willow are deciduous after they flower. They are only present for a short time during the year.
The northern willow trees are important parts of the diets of moose and other animals and they also provide places for bedding, hiding and giving birth to young for some animals.
TRADITIONAL USES BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
The willow is used for smoking meat, starting fires, for weaving and for clothing. Ashes from the tree can be used on wounds and the bark is chewed as a way to heal sore throats. The Lillooet, an interior Nation, has made fire drills from the tree as well as twine and rope out of the bark.
The wood of the willow is used to make whistles.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk