E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Salix exigua Nutt.
narrow-leaf willow (coyote willow; sandbar willow)
Salicaceae (Willow family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #19733)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Salix exigua
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Species Information

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Dioecious shrubs or trees, 0.5-6 m tall, forming colonies by root shoots, branches erect, flexible at base; twigs yellow- to red-brown, smooth or sparsely to densely hairy.
Alternate, simple, linear to strap-shaped, 3-16 cm long, 0.2-1 cm wide; lower surface glaucous or not, silky or long-soft hairy to nearly smooth, hairs white, upper surface shiny, silky or long soft-hairy to nearly smooth, margins entire or remotely and minutely spiny-toothed, bases wedge-shaped, tips pointed to tapered; leaf stalks without glandular dots at top; stipules leaflike, rudimentary or absent.
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, hairs wavy or straight, female bracts deciduous; stamens 2; ovaries 1, smooth or hairy; styles 0-0.2 mm long.
Capsules which split open to release the seeds, each of which is surrounded by a tuft of hairs; stalks 0.2-0.9 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: White
Present from Summer to Spring
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Pioneer on mesic to moist, sandy or gravelly floodplains and sedge meadows in the steppe and montane zones; common in SE and SC BC, less common northward; ssp. exigua - E to SK and NB, S to TX, NM, AZ and CA; ssp. interior - N to AK, YT and NT, E to NB and S to VA, MS, LA, OK and CO.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Salix exigua

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) 55 560 1160
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 32
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
45 314 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(20), BWBS(10), CWH(1), IDF(7), PP(4), SBS(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Salix argophylla Nutt.
Salix exigua subsp. interior (Rowlee) Cronquist
Salix exigua var. angustissima (Anderss.) Reveal & Broome
Salix exigua var. columbiana Dorn
Salix exigua var. exterior (Fernald) C.F. Reed
Salix exigua var. hindsiana (Benth.) Dorn
Salix exigua var. luteosericea (Rydb.) Schneid.
Salix exigua var. nevadensis (S. Wats.) Schneid.
Salix exigua var. parishiana (Rowlee) Jepson
Salix exigua var. pedicellata (Andersson) Cronquist
Salix exigua var. sericans (Nees) Dorn
Salix exigua var. stenophylla (Rydb.) Schneid.
Salix exigua var. virens Rowlee
Salix fluviatilis var. argophylla (Nutt.) Sarg.
Salix fluviatilis var. sericans (Nees) B. Boivin
Salix hindsiana Benth.
Salix hindsiana var. leucodendroides (Rowlee) Ball
Salix hindsiana var. parishiana (Rowlee) Ball
Salix hindsiana var. tenuifolia (Anderss.) Anderss.
Salix interior var. angustissima (Anderss.) Dayton
Salix interior var. exterior Fernald
Salix interior var. luteosericea (Rydb.) Schneid.
Salix interior var. pedicellata (Andersson) C.R. Ball
Salix interior var. wheeleri Rowlee
Salix linearifolia Rydb.
Salix longifolia Muhl., non Lam.
Salix longifolia var. argophylla (Nutt.) Anderss.
Salix longifolia var. exigua (Nutt.) Bebb
Salix longifolia var. interior (Rowlee) M.E. Jones
Salix longifolia var. opaca Anderss.
Salix longifolia var. pedicellata Andersson
Salix longifolia var. sericans Nees
Salix longifolia var. wheeleri (Rowlee) C.K. Schneid.
Salix luteosericea Rydb.
Salix macrostachya var. leucodendroides Rowlee
Salix malacophylla Nutt. ex Ball
Salix nevadensis S. Wats.
Salix parishiana Rowlee
Salix rubra Richardson, non Huds.
Salix sessilifolia subsp. hindsiana (Benth.) Andersson
Salix sessilifolia var. hindsiana (Benth.) Anderss.
Salix sessilifolia var. leucodendroides (Rowlee) Schneid.
Salix stenophylla Rydb.
Salix thurberi Rowlee
Salix wheeleri (Rowlee) Rydb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References