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

Salix sitchensis Sanson ex Bong.
Sitka willow
Salicaceae (Willow family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #15419)

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

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Dioecious shrubs or trees, 1-8 m tall, not colonial; branches erect, flexible at base; twigs yellow- to red-brown, densely hairy.
Alternate, simple, elliptic to lance- or egg-shaped, 3-12 cm long, 1.7-5 cm wide, lower surface very densely silky, satiny, or woolly, hairs white, upper surface dull, sparsely long soft-hairy to nearly smooth, margins entire or toothed, bases pointed, tips rounded to pointed; leaf stalks without glandular dots at top; stipules leaflike or rudimentary.
Unisexual, lacking sepals and petals, borne in catkins which flower as leaves emerge or just before them, the catkins slender to stout, on leafy twigs; floral bracts pale or dark, hairs straight or wavy; stamens 1; ovaries 1, hairy; styles 0.4-0.8 mm long.
Capsules which split open to release the seeds, each of which is surrounded by a tuft of hairs; stalks 0.4-1.4 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic thickets, floodplains, lakeshores, avalanche tracks, clearings and forest margins in the lowland and montane zones; common in S BC south of 56degreeN, especially W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, infrequent northward; N to S AK, E to AB and S to MT, ID and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Salix sitchensis

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) 0 687 2300
Slope Gradient (%) 0 8 85
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
5 208 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 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: AT(2), BAFA(1), BWBS(2), CDF(36), CWH(229), ESSF(74), ICH(132), IDF(13), MH(28), MS(23), PP(1), SBS(122), SWB(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, montane, Asian and transcontinental North American deciduous shrub. In the region, present more in the Pacific rather than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in subcontinental to continental boreal and cool temperate climates. Scattered to plentiful on nitrogen-medium soils. especially in disturbed and early seral communities, common in flood plains. May hinder natural regeneration and growth of shade-tolerant conifers.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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 coulteri Anderss.
Salix cuneata Nutt.
Salix pellita var. angustifolia (Bebb) B. Boivin
Salix sitchensis var. angustifolia Bebb
Salix sitchensis var. congesta (Anderss.) Anderss.
Salix sitchensis var. denudata (Anderss.) Anderss.
Salix sitchensis var. parviflora (Jepson) Jepson
Salix sitchensis var. ralphiana (Jepson) Jepson

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References