Pacific Willow

Salix lucinda

Pacific Willow

APPEARANCE

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.

LIFE CYCLE

The flowers or catkins of the willow are deciduous after they flower. They are only present for a short time during the year.

ANIMAL USES

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.

OTHER USES

The wood of the willow is used to make whistles.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.bcadventure.com

Photo: born1945