Elevation: Up to 9,500 feet; below 7,000 feet in California.
Habitat Preferences: Along streams, marshes and wet ditches.
Recorded Range:Salix exigua is found in the western ½ of the United States and Canada. It is also native to Baja California and northern Mexico. In Arizona it is found throughout the state in appropriate habitat.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Salix exigua.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: In North America Salix exigua, Narrowleaf Willow has the following wetland designations: North America, Arid West, FACW; Great Plains, FACW; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FACW.
FACW = Facultative Wetland, usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands.
Threatened/Endangered Information: In North America Salix exigua, Narrowleaf Willow is listed by the following states as Threatened or Endangered: Connecticut, Sandbar Willow, Threatened; Maryland, Sandbar Willow, Endangered, Massachusetts, Sandbar Willow, Threatened.
Genus Information: In North America there are 129 species and 200 accepted taxa overall for Salix. World wide, The Plant List includes 552 accepted species names with 963 infraspecific rank for the genus.
In the Southwestern United States, Arizona has 20 species of Salix, California has 30 species, Nevada has 24 species, New Mexico has 24 species, Texas has 8 species and Utah has 27 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.
Comments: Narrowleaf Willow, Salix exigua is common where found and has a long line of synonyms and extremely variable in shape and form from region to region and within regions as well. Salix exigua has an extreme range of distribution across in North America.
Narrowleaf Willow has value for wildlife as moose, elk and mule deer are known to browse the plants. Late summer and winter may also provide additional browse for elk. It is also known to be heavily-used by beaver. Narrowleaf Willow provides good food value for small mammals and for waterfowl. It also provides important nesting and cover sites for non-game birds and small non-game birds. Apparently Narrowleaf Willow also provides good cover for mule deer, white-tailed deer and upland game birds.
This species is important browse for livestock.
For a comprehensive thoroughly documented review of Salix exigua see the USDA USFS Fire Effects Information System, or FEIS.
Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Narrowleaf Willow, Salix exigua is a host plant for the following butterfly caterpillars: - Find out more from Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA).
Rocky Mountain agapema, Agapema homogena; Caterpillar Hosts: Adults do not feed.
The genus Salix is directly from the Latin word "Salix" which means willow. The genus Salix was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The species epithet "exigua" from Latin translated means little, poor in growth, or weak and also the Latin word exilis, Latin for "small, thin, slender, feeble"; each a reference to the short height reached of the tree/shrub willow.
Salix exigua, Narrowleaf Willow has been used for a variety of purposes by North American indigenous peoples.
Blackfoot Fiber, Building Material, Use to make the framework of the sweat lodges.
Costanoan Fiber, Basketry, Shoots used in basketry.
Flathead Fiber, Basketry, Willow made into baskets cemented with gum and used to cook fish.
Havasupai Other, Tools, Used to make tongs for removing cactus fruit.
Kawaiisu Other, Smoking Tools, Twigs with leaves used as 'wrappers' to hold tobacco.
Lakota Fiber, Building Material, Branches used for building sweatlodges.
Pomo, Kashaya Fiber, Building Material, Large branches used as the framework for thatched summer homes, sudatories and other construction.
Montana Indian Drug, Antirheumatic (External), Poles used for framework of 'sweat tepee' for rheumatism.
Navajo Food, Fodder, Leaves and bark used as food for both wild and domesticated animals.