Wolf-willow has smooth, silvery leaves up to one centimetre long, and it grows up to four metres tall with its twigs covered in rusty-brown scales. It has trumpet-shaped yellow flowers, and silvery berries.
RANGE & HABITAT
This shrub is found in mountainous areas on both sides of the Rocky Mountains, and in B.C. it is fairly common in the north. It likes dry sandbars, roadsides and the edge of meadows. It spreads quickly in areas disturbed by floods, landslides and development.
The yellow flowers ripen into silvery berries, one centimetre long, with a single seed inside each one. Some birds are attracted to the seeds, and help to spread them.
Wolf-willow is important food for moose and elk in the wintertime. A few birds eat the seeds, and the shrubs provide good cover and protection for moose, deer, birds and other animals.
TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES
The silver berries were strung together to make necklaces, and the bark was woven into bags, baskets, blankets and rope. In Alaska, the fruits were cooked in moose fat and eaten.
Wolf-willow is a common ornamental tree in dry and rock gardens.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Bob Pruner