Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Salix amygdaloides, Peachleaf Willow

Peachleaf Willow blooms from April of May through June. Flowers are yellowish-green, both male and female flowers in catkins. Female flowers are in loosely flowered catkins as shown here. Salix amygdaloidesPeachleaf Willow blooms from April of May through June. Flowers are yellowish-green, both male and female flowers in catkins. Male flowers shown here are in deeply flowered catkin. Salix amygdaloidesPeachleaf Willow has green peach-shaped deciduous leaves, shiny above and turning yellow in the fall.  Salix amygdaloidesPeachleaf Willow are appropriately name as the leaves clearly resemble peach tree leaves.  Salix amygdaloidesPeachleaf Willow is found across the United States and prefer elevations between 5,000 to 6,400 feet (1,600 to 2,100 m). In the southwestern and western United States, cottonwood-willow habitat provides excellent habitat, nesting, food and shelter for a wide range of birds including raptors, waterfowl, upland game birds and songbirds. Salix amygdaloides

Scientific Name: Salix amygdaloides
Common Name: Peachleaf Willow

Also Called: Almond-leaf Willow, Almond Willow, Peach-leaf Willow, Peach Willow, Southwestern Peach Willow, Wright Peachleaf Willow, Wright Willow

Family: Salicaceae or Willow Family

Synonyms: (Salix amygdaloides var. wrightii, Salix nigra var. amygdaloides, Salix nigra var. wrightii, Salix wrightii)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: Up to 33 feet (10 m) in AZ, 12 to 66 feet (3-20 m) elsewhere, trunk diameter 12 inches (30 cm)

Growth Form: Tree, or shrubs, multi-trunks, 2 to 4 leaning or ascending trunks; bark slightly fissured, branches/twigs brittle, yellow, reddish or gray-brown, drooping branchlets; may for thickets in some areas.

Leaves: Green, peach-shaped, deciduous; shiny above, yellowish-green turning yellow in the fall; small stems (petioles); shape narrowly elliptic, lanceolate or oblanceolate; margins serrulate; upper surface of leaf shiny green, lower surface silver-white or glaucous, leaves show off shimmering in light or heavy winds.

Flower Color: Yellowish-green; pistillate flowers in loosely flowered catkins, staminate flowers in deeply flowered catkins; fruit a capsule, seeds with silky hairs attached.

Flowering Season: April to May or June.

Elevation: 5,000 to 6,400 feet (1,600 to 2,100 m)

Habitat Preferences: Along streams, ponds, lakes, forests along rivers, streams; riparian and other moist or wet areas including irrigation ditches.

Recorded Range: Peachleaf Willow is scattered in small populations across the United States and well into Canada.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Salix amygdaloides.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.

Wetland Indicator: In North America Salix amygdaloides has the following wetland designations: Arid West, FACW; Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, FACW; Eastern Mountains and Piedmont, FACW; Great Plains, FACW; Midwest, FACW; Northcentral & Northeast, FACW; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FACW.
FACW = Facultative Wetland, usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands.

Threatened/Endangered Information: The State of Kentucky is included Salix amygdaloides, Peachleaf Willow on the Threatened and Endangered list under the Historical status.

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:Salix amygdaloides is not a common plant in the southwestern United States where it is found scattered throughout limited populations.

Peachleaf Willow is common in southwestern United States deserts where it is found along streams commonly with Arizona Walnut (Juglans major), Fremont Cottonwood (Populus fremontii) and Arizona Sycamore (Platanus wrightii).

For a comprehensive and thoroughly documented review of Salix amygdaloides see the USDA USFS Fire Effects Information System, or FEIS.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see Goodding's Willow, Salix gooddingii and Narrowleaf Willow, Salix exigua.

Importance to Wildlife and Livestock
In the southwestern and western United States, cottonwood-willow habitat provide excellent habitat, nesting, food and shelter for a wide range of birds including raptors, waterfowl, upland game birds and songbirds. Across their range, willow tree communities are known to provide habitat for elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer and moose. Other mammals utilizing willow communities are beavers and cottontails which are known to browse on willow stems and leaves. The federally endangered southwestern willow flycatcher nests in willow trees.
Peachleaf Willow is important forage for wild and domestic ungulates because they generally stay green throughout summer.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Peachleaf Willow, Salix amygdaloides is a host plant for the following butterfly caterpillars: - Find out more from Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA).
  • Acadian Hairstreak, Satyrium acadica, Caterpillar Hosts: Various willow species including black willow (Salix nigra = Salix amygdaloides).
  • Mourning Cloak, Caterpillar Hosts: Willows including black willow (Salix nigra).
  • Scythropiodes issikii, Caterpillar Hosts: The larvae have been recorded feeding on Salix species.
  • Catocala californica, Caterpillar Hosts: Salix.
  • Etymology:
    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 "amygdaloides" is from the Latin words amygdala (“almond”) + -īnus meaning resembling or pertaining to an almond or perhaps a peach tree and Latin name for willow meaning "to leap or spring into life".

    Peachleaf Willow has been used for variety of purposes by United States indigenous peoples.
  • Cheyenne Drug, Antidiarrheal, Infusion of bark, and bark shavings used for diarrhea.
  • Cheyenne Drug, Ceremonial Medicine, Dermatological Aid and Gastrointestinal Aid, Plant used in the Sun Dance ceremony; Poultice of bark applied to bleeding cuts; Infusion of bark shavings used for stomach ailments.
  • Cheyenne Drug, Hemostat, Panacea, Building Material and Furniture, Poultice of bark applied to bleeding cuts; Infusion of bark taken for diarrhea and other ailments; Branches used to build sweat lodges; Slender shoots bound with sinew and used as backrests’ Young twigs made into cages and used to carry children on travois.
  • Cheyenne Fiber, Mats, Rugs & Bedding, Cooking Tools, Musical Instrument, Paint and Tools, Wood made into mattresses and used to keep beds above the ground; Branches used to make meat drying racks; Wood used to make drums; Sticks bent and used to remove hair from hides.
  • Gosiute Fiber, Basketry, Containers, Hunting and Fishing Item, Wood used to make baskets, fish weirs and water jugs, Wood used to make baskets and water jugs, Wood used to make fish weirs.
  • Okanagan-Colville Drug, Orthopedic Aid, Decoction of branch tips used for soaking the feet and legs for cramps.

  • See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Date Profile Completed: 09/11/2019
    Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, Arizona Flora, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 09/09/2019)
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/09/2019)
    Fryer, Janet L. 2012. Salix amygdaloides. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [2019, September 8].
    Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet (accessed 09/08/2019). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
    George W. Argus, James E. Eckenwalder, Robert W. KigerFNA, |Family List |FNA Vol. 7 | Salicaceae | Salix | 7. Salix amygdaloides; Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
    Salicaceae Part Two: Salix - JANAS 29(1): 39-62. 1995. (G.W. Argus)(accessed 09/11/2019)
    The Morton Arboretum: VPlants, The Field Museum of Natural History; - (accessed 09/08/2019).
    Aggie-Horticulture, Ornamental PlantsSalix amygdaloides, Salicaceae (accessed: 09/08/2019)
    Michael Charters, California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations - A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology Compiled by Michael L. Charters - (accessed 09/09/2019) - Excellent site.
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information, (accessed 09/03/2019).