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

Salix brachycarpa Nutt.
short-fruited willow (shortfruit willow; small-fruit willow)
Salicaceae (Willow family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #71011)

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Distribution of Salix brachycarpa
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Salix brachycarpa var. brachycarpa

Species Information

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Dioecious shrubs, 0.2-1.5 m tall, not colonial; branches decumbent or erect, flexible at base; twigs red-brown, densely hairy.
Alternate, simple; narrowly oblong to egg-shaped, 1-4 cm long, 0.5-1.6 cm wide, lower surface glaucous, long soft-hairy or long-silky, hairs white, upper surface shiny, long soft-hairy to nearly smooth, margins entire, bases rounded to pointed, tips pointed; leaf stalks without glandular dots at top; stipules rudimentary or leaflike.
Unisexual, lacking sepals and petals, borne in catkins which flower as leaves emerge, the catkins stout to globe-shaped, on leafy twigs; floral bracts pale, hairs wavy or straight; stamens 2; ovaries 1, hairy; styles 0.5-1.5 mm long.
Capsules which split open to release the seeds, each of which is surrounded by a tuft of hairs; stalks 0-0.5 mm long.
The taxon, sometimes treated as S. brachycarpa ssp. niphoclada, is treated as S. niphoclada in this work. See the latter species for further discussion. Putative hybrids with S. glauca var. villosa have been reported.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic open forests, thickets, fens, seepage on limestone shores, and gravel floodplains in montane and subalpine zones; common throughout BC (except WC area) E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to S YT and W NT, E to PQ and S to NM and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Salix brachycarpa

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) 555 1547 2460
Slope Gradient (%) 0 9 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 50 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 4 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: AT(17), BAFA(11), BWBS(7), ESSF(77), ICH(4), IDF(23), IMA(2), MS(25), SBPS(16), SBS(3), SWB(9)


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 brachycarpa subsp. fullertonensis (C.K. Schneid.) A. Löve & D. Löve
Salix brachycarpa subsp. niphoclada (Rydb.) Argus
Salix brachycarpa var. fullertonensis (C.K. Schneid.) Argus
Salix brachycarpa var. mexiae C.R. Ball
Salix fullertonensis C.K. Schneid.
Salix glauca var. niphoclada (Rydb.) Wiggins
Salix muriei Hultén
Salix niphoclada var. fullertonensis (C.K. Schneid.) Raup
Salix niphoclada var. mexiae (C.R. Ball) Hultén
Salix niphoclada var. muriei (Hultén) Raup

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References