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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Salix exigua Nutt.)

Sandbar willow

WILLOW FAMILY (Salicaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: An erect, deciduous shrub 2-5 m. high. A distinctive characteristic of this willow is its long, linear leaves (usually 10 times longer than wide) that are irregularly toothed. Mature leaves are without hairs. Leaf stalks lack glands and no stipules are present. It often has many stems that are slender, reddish-brown, lack hairs, and are leafy. Catkins (3-6(8) cm. long) emerge after the leaves. Fruit is a capsule that is hairless to thinly silky. In flower during May and June.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Sandbar willow is probably the most common willow in Minnesota and Wisconsin, frequently forming large, dense, circular colonies (clones) that can be an acre or two in extent. In addition to shrub-carrs, this willow is common on sandbars, mud flats, beaches, and other alluvial mineral soils. It responds positively to water level changes and is often found colonizing dredged material sites. Formerly known as S. interior Rowlee.

SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); Swink and Wilhelm (1994); and Voss (1985).

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