Lemmon's Willow (Lemmonii)

The Lemmon's Willow (Lemmonii) is generally described as a perennial shrub. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the spring and summer . The greatest bloom is usually observed in the early spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the spring and continuing until summer. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Lemmon's Willow (Lemmonii) has a long life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Lemmon's Willow (Lemmonii) will reach up to 14 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 14 feet.

The Lemmon's Willow (Lemmonii) is usually not commercially available except under contract. It can be propagated by bare root, container, cuttings, seed. It has a slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have low vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -28°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Reclamation: Lemmon's willow is used for revegetation of riparian areas, native plant community restoration and landscaping.

Livestock and Wildlife: All classes of livestock eat willows in the West, but cattle consume more than others because they frequent riparian areas. Lemmon's willow is palatable to livestock, but its importance in their diets is not reported.

Deer and elk use Lemmon's willow for browse.

Beavers prefer willows as food and building material. Ducks and grouse, other birds and small mammals eat willow shoots, catkins, buds and leaves.

Lemmon's willow provides good cover for mammals and songbirds and provides shade for salmonids.

Ethnobotany: Native Americans and others have long used willows for basket making. Willows are also a well-known source of salacin, which is chemically related to aspirin. Willows have also

been used by Native Americans for bows, arrows, scoops, fish traps, and other items.

General Characteristics

General: Lemmon's willow is a multi-stemmed native deciduous shrub. It reaches a mature height of 10 - 16 feet. Flowers appear before or with new leaves. Leaves are alternate, pinnate-veined, entire or inconspicuously toothed, green shiny above and pale glaucous below. Stipules are minute and inconspicuous. Current season twigs are glabrous or sparsely pubescent, becoming strongly glaucous.

Required Growing Conditions

Lemmon's willow occurs in foothills to mid-mountains from Hood River County, Oregon along the east side of the Cascades to the Sierras in California east to Owyhee County, Idaho and Nevada.

For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Habitat: Lemmon's willow occurs in riparian habitats which are usually bordered by coniferous forests of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) or Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). It also occurs in zones of mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana). It grows near low gradient streams and rivers on floodplains. It is probably an early seral species as are many other willows.

Associated Species: Associated shrubs include Geyer (S. geyeriana), Drummond (S. drummondiana) planeleaf (S. planifolia) and Wolf willow (S. wolfii). Bog birch (Betula glandulosa) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratense) are also common.

Adaptation Lemmon's willow is found on well-drained gravelly or sandy soils. In Oregon, it is found on deep, fine-textured alluvium over subsurface soils of various textures ranging from silt to silty clay loam soil. Soil pH ranges from 5.2 to 7.4 and annual precipitation requirement is from 20 to 40 inches. Shade tolerance is intermediate.

Cultivation and Care

Lemmon's willow may be propagated via seed or cuttings. Seed is used to produce containerized plants. Cuttings may either be planted directly at the site or planted to produce bareroot or containerized plants. On-site wild hardwood cutting collections may not root as well as nursery grown stock. Nursery grown cuttings' growing conditions are maintained at a more optimum level, therefore the cuttings have better carbohydrate storage levels and less potential problems with disease and insects.

Lemmon's willow should be established in the capillary zone in riparian revegetation plantings. Plantings should be protected with appropriate physical barriers such as wire cages or tree protector tubes where there is rodent or beaver activity.

Much information is available for willow establishment, primarily in riparian zones. See reference section.

General Upkeep and Control

Lemmon's willow provides important streambank protection by effectively stabilizing soils. Heavy grazing in Lemmon's willow communities can lead to lowered vigor uneven stem age distribution and dead clumps. Plants recover rapidly when browsing is excluded. Grazing is particularly detrimental to the establishment of willows.

Pests and Potential Problems Poplar/willow borers are potential problems in stands of Lemmon's willow maintained for cutting production. Borers must be controlled prior to entering the stems. Decadent stems with borer infestation should be pruned from commercial cutting production sites. Consult local/state pesticide recommendations for further control.

Willows plantings, especially during establishment, can be damaged by rodents including beaver, muskrat, mice, voles, etc. either cutting off or girdling stems. Cuttings or plants should be protected from rodent damage, especially in grassy areas where vole/mice populations are active.

Seed and Plant Production Lemmon's willow is easily propagated by use of hardwood cuttings without use of rooting hormone. Seed propagation is also used, but seed must be collected as soon as the fruits ripen. Mature seed loses germination ability rapidly, so planting soon after collection is necessary. Moistened seed may be stored for up to a month in refrigerated sealed containers. Seeds of willow are not generally known to exhibit dormancy. Some native plant propagators prefer seed propagation for added diversity of genetic material and less labor requirement for handling of materials during collection, storage and propagation. (See

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Rapid
General Type Shrub
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Long
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Contracting Only
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Early Spring
Displays Fall Colors No
Shape/Growth Form Multiple Stem
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intermediate
Height When Mature 14
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color Yellow
Flower Conspicuousness No
Fruit/Seed Abundance Low
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Spring Summer
Seed Spread Rate Slow
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Cuttings, Seed
Moisture Requirements High
Cold Stratification Required No
Minimum Temperature -28
Soil Depth for Roots 20
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing Yes
Growth Requirements
pH Range 5.2–7.4 pH
Precipitation Range 20–20 inches/yr
Planting Density 1200–2700 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 20
Minimum Frost-Free Days 110 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance None
CaCO3 Tolerance Medium
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability Medium
Fire Resistant No

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA