April 7, 2016

Dunes in Bloom: Arroyo Willow

Arroyo Willow at OFL

Common Name(s): Arroyo Willow

Scientific Name: Salix lasiolepis

Family: Salicaceae

Plant Type: Branching shrub or small tree

Size: Up to 30'

Arroyo Willow 3Appearance: This small riparian woodland  regular which thrives along the edges of streams where  it enjoys the moist soil it requires has smooth  bark and yellowish to dark brown twigs.  It has alternate, hairy, entire leaves that are lanceolate-elliptic to oblanceolate in shape. This plant flowers between February and April. It has no petals or sepals, and is borne in a compact inflorescence called a catkin.

Since Arroyo Willows have a talent for propagating from vegetative tissue and growing from cuttings, their hormones are often extracted and used in nurseries to help other plant cuttings take root. Willows are also an excellent resource for erosion control on river banks.

Arroyo Willow InfluoresenceAnother useful chemical first derived from the willow is Aspirin. Native Americans had many uses for this flexible plant, an infusion of either its bark or its flowers was used to cure a variety of ailments from fevers to itchiness to diarrhea. The inner bark was made into rope, the shoots used for baskets, and stakes provided structure for thatched houses.

CAL FLORA Database

Do you have photos or anecdotes of Arroyo Willow that you would like to share with us? Please let us know in the comments section below, or submit your photos and stories to [email protected].


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