Western North America
Least Concern (IUCN Red List)
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Also known as coyote willow, narrowleaf willow is a shrub-tree that can grow up to 33 feet tall. Narrowleaf willow leaves are flat, linear, and silky green. Their flowers, called catkins (cylindrical flower clusters), are green and look like a fluffy spike.
Willows are rhizomatous, meaning they can grow new shoots from their roots, enabling them to resprout quickly.
Narrowleaf willows flower from March to May and grow along rivers, marshes, and ditches.
Willows are an important food source for many species in the Truckee Meadows such as mule deer, waterfowl, and beavers.
Willow stems are flexible and are used to make baskets, scoops, and fish traps.
Willows produce salicin, a chemical which acts similarly to aspirin. Their medicinal properties alleviate toothaches, stomach aches, sore throats, and help the healing process of wounds.
In the Paiute language, willows are called Suube.
iNaturalist, Narrowleaf Willow, 2021, https://www.inaturalist.org/guide_taxa/45191
USDA PLANTS Database, Salix exigua, 2021, https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=SAEX
Lady Bird Wildflower Center, Salix exigua, 2008, https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=SAEX
IUCN Red List, Narrow-Leaf Willow, 2020, https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/126589236/174155123
Pyramid Lake, The Paiute Language, 2021, http://www.numuinc.com/home/the-tribe/the-paiute-language/
Image: Matt Lavin, https://www.flickr.com/photos/plant_diversity/50276396038, license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/, cropped from original.
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