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

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

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20020)

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

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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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

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

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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) 365 513 762
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 12
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
250 249 250
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 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(3), BWBS(1), SBS(1)


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 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

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References