Salix sessilifolia Nutt.
soft-leaved willow (northwest sandbar willow; sessile-leaved sandbar willow)
Salicaceae (Willow family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #20020)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Salix sessilifolia
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Dioecious shrubs, 3-5 m tall, forming colonies by root shoots; branches erect, flexible at base; twigs red-brown, densely hairy.
Alternate, simple, linear to narrowly elliptic or narrowly lance-shaped, 4-12 cm long, 0.8-1.4 cm wide, lower surface not glaucous, silky or long soft-hairy, hairs white, upper surface dull, silky or long soft-hairy, margins remotely and minutely spiny-toothed, bases wedge-shaped to rounded, tips tapered; leaf stalks without glandular dots at top; stipules rudimentary or leaflike.
Unisexual, lacking sepals and petals, borne in catkins which flower as leaves emerge or throughout season, the catkins slender, on leafy twigs; floral bracts pale or dark, hairs wavy, female bracts deciduous; stamens 2; ovaries 1, hairy; styles 0.2-0.4 mm long.
Capsules which split open to release the seeds, each of which is surrounded by a tuft of hairs; stalks 0.2-0.7 mm long.
This species is distinguished from S. melanopsis by its long, slender stigmas (0.4-1 versus 0.2-0.5 mm long) and densely silky leaves.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Summer
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Salix sessilifolia

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
513 365 762
Slope Gradient (%)
2 0 12

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

249 250 250
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BG(3), BWBS(1), SBS(1)

Habitat and Range

Moist to mesic sandbars in the lowland zone; rare in extreme SW BC; S to CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Salix exigua var. sessilifolia (Nutt.) Dorn
Salix fluviatilis Nutt.
Salix fluviatilis var. sessilifolia (Nutt.) Scoggan
Salix longifolia var. sessilifolia (Nutt.) M.E. Jones
Salix macrostachya Nutt.
Salix macrostachya var. cusickii Rowlee
Salix sessilifolia var. sessilifolia
Salix sessilifolia var. villosa Andersson