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Woody > Salix > Salix amygdaloides > Salix amygdaloides

Salix amygdaloides

Peachleaf Willow, Almond Willow

Origin:  Southern Canada including Quebec, west to western British Columbia. Also found in the United States south to Kentucky and west to Nevada and Arizona.
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S. amygdaloides is known as the Peachleaf or Almond Willow. The name amygdaloides derives from Greek- amygdalos- ‘almond’ and oides- ‘resembling’. S. amygdaloides has remarkable vitality, when it is burnt in a forest fire it will reshoot from old growth such as the remnant stumps. That said it is a short-lived but hardy plant that prefers wet soil conditions, is fast growing and can be found in Ontario and Manitoba in tree form and elsewhere in its range in shrub form. With dense roots reaching minimum depths of 75 cm, it is an ideal choice to control erosion, stabilize banks and enhance water quality. The bark is rich in tannin and a pale brown dye can be produced from it. It has many purported medicinal uses including bark shavings used to treat stomach ailments and branch tips that have been boiled are used in treating cramps in the feet and legs. The fresh bark of willows contains salicin, which is an ingredient in aspirin.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (deciduous), Shrub (deciduous)
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
-36 - (-23)
Temperature (°F)
-33 - (-10)
3-20 m
5 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
The branches are yellowish brown in colour, flexible and appear to be nodding at the tips: the lenticels being lighter in colour. The species form can range from single-stemmed tree to multi-stemmed shrub.
The peachleaf willow is used in landscapes to attract wildlife. It is also great along water banks to help stabilize the soil, prevent erosion and is an effective bio-filter to enhance water quality.
S. amygdaloides will grow in full sun and can tolerate some shade. The soil should be coarse to medium textured with pH levels slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (6.0 - 8.0).
There are 2 forms of the Peachleaf Willow a single-stem tree, leaning and often narrow with a rounded crown and a multi-stem shrub type, leaning, but is broader and more irregular.
ID Characteristic
The Peachleaf Willow is the largest of the prairie willows. The leaves are ovate-lanceolate to lanceolate in shape resembling leaves of an almond or peach tree. The branches like most willows are quite pliable and yellowish in colour. The branches have prominent lenticels that are scattered and lustrous varying in colour from dark orange to red-brown.
It is subject to leaf defoliation by aphids caterpillars and beetles. Dead spots on stems and twigs can occur and may be the result of a number of cankers. Severe infestations of canker will encircle the stem causing death. Wildlife such as rabbit, deer, and elk will browse on the twigs.
The Peachleaf Willow is intolerant of drought and requires well drained but moist soils. It is found in riparian areas such as pond, lake, river, stream bog edges and in low, moist woods.
Bark/Stem Description
Bark thickness at maturity ranges from 1.2- 2 cm in depth. Young bark is yellowish reddish and is smooth. Mature bark is irregular and fissures into flat ridges producing plate-like scales at the surface.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
The buds are broad, ovoid and 3 mm in length, lying flat along the stems, sharply pointed, and covered in a single yellow-brown glossy scale.
Leaf Description
Leaves are lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate in shape alternating along the stems and range from 5-14 cm in length and 1-4 cm in width. The top of the leaf is green with a thin whitish waxy underside. The mid-vein is prominent and the leaf is finely toothed along the margins.
Flower Description
The catkins will appear on the leafy shoots from April through to June. The male (pollen) catkins are 3-6 cm in length and flower in whorls. The female (seed) catkins are 4-9 cm in length with loosely compacted flowers.
Fruit Description
The fruit develops along 4-7 mm long stalks. Prior to the yellowish-reddish coloured capsules ripening the subtended bracts are shed. The seeds are silky-haired and tiny, ripening from June to July.
Colour Description
In early spring the leaves have a reddish colour turning to green in the summer showing their waxy whitish underside. In the autumn months the leaves drop leaving the young yellowish reddish bark exposed in contrast to the mature, dark coloured, fissured bark.
Texture Description
The plant is smooth to medium in texture.
Vegetative propagation is done with the current years growth between the months of November to February, rooting is quite quick but is enhanced with bottom heat and rooting hormone. Seeds have poor viability and are difficult collect, however they should be surface sown and kept moist during the germination process.
Sargent, Charles Sprague. Manual of the Trees of North America. New York, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1965. Print Waldon, Gerry. Trees of the Carolinian Forest, A Guide to Species, Their Ecology and Uses. Erin, Ontario: The Boston Mills Press, 2003. Print.