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Woody > Salix > Salix lucida > Salix lucida

Salix lucida

Shining Willow

Origin:  Western North America.
Tree (deciduous)
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
Temperature (°F)
4 m - 11 m
2 m - 9 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
Use as a border plant around ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. It can also be used as a general landscape tree as long as it has moderately moist soil. Can be used along roads and highways and in parking lots as it has a high tolerance to salt and pollution.
S. lucida prefers moist soils and is moisture tolerant. It grows best in full sun and is very tolerant to the cold.
Upright small tree or shrub. Rounded and broad shape with erect branches. Not colonial.
ID Characteristic
Dark green leaves with a light green shinning underside much like the silver maple. The bark on the trunk is full of character with how it intertwines. The leaves are roughly 10 times longer than they are wide and are symmetrical. Can be distinguished from other willows by the glands at the bottom of the leaf.
Bruce spanworm, asian long-horned beetle, willow flea weevil. Is susceptible to Ribes-willow rust.
Along streams, lakes, rivers in western North America.
Bark/Stem Description
very smooth bark when it is young and immature and as it matures it becomes more rigid and rough. When it is young it is a light to medium grey colour and as it ages, and matures it becomes a dark grey or brown.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
The buds are light brown and are covered by a single scare. The flower buds are bigger than the leaf buds. Leaf scars are v shaped, with 3 scars.
Leaf Description
Simple, long, alternate and very fine serrate leaves. Generally they are 10 times longer than they are wide. The leaves are 5 - 20 cm long with smooth leaf stalks.
Flower Description
Pale yellow Catkin which contain between 4 and 8 stamen and have a pistil around 3 -12 cm long. They carry the seeds, and will flower until May. The catkins then turn a dull brown and split open revealing its seeds.
Fruit Description
Very small (4 – 7 mm) light brown fruit.
Colour Description
As a young tree, it has a light coloured bark with a smooth trunk. As the tree matures, the trunk turns a dark grey-brown colour. In the spring the leaves are yellow-green colour. As they mature the top becomes a dark glossy green and the bottom of the leaf becomes a light green, giving a shining effect. Long slender yellow Catkin which slowly change to a brown colour.
Texture Description
Smooth as a young tree, but as it matures, its bark becomes more rigid and intricate. Its leaves are smooth and waxy.
Propagation by seed or cuttings. The seeds can be collected directly after the fruit has ripened – it is easiest to wait until the catkins have started to open. Seeds will germinate start to germinate as soon as they are planted. They need the soil to stay moist or they will not germinate. Since the seeds have a very high concentration of chlorophyll the seeds will germinate faster if they are exposed to light. S. lucida seeds do not go dormant and so there is no pre-treatment required before planting the seeds. For cuttings, the wood needs to be over 1 year old to be successful. Cuttings need to be at least 18 cm long and at least 1 cm thick. The branches of the cutting need to be removed all the way up the stem leaving two or three branches at the top of the stem. You then must soak the cuttings in water for at least five days. The cutting then needs to be dug into the ground so that at least 25% of the branch is above ground.
Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
Herbal leaf tea for pain relief, similar to aspirin. Its bark has been used by native aboriginals as a tooth cleaner and toothache remedy. The Ojibwe would burn the bark down and use the ashes as a topical remedy to skin rashes and gangrene. In emergency situations, its roots can be stripped of their bark and eaten as noodles when boiled or raw. The shoot can also be turned into flour.