Habit: large shrub or tree with smooth, brownish red bark turning gray and slightly furrowed with age. Twigs are soft, furry and brittle. Leaves are bright green oval shaped being wider near the tip and densely hairy on undersides with flattened hairs. Flowers are cream to yellow colored catkins that stand upright from the branches appearing before or with the new leaves in spring. Fruit is a small tear shaped capsule, with silky seeds.
Ecology: found near lakes and wetlands, in moist forests and coastal mountains, up to elevations of 5000 ft (1500 m) in the Northwest from Alaska to California and inland to Montana.
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade, moist to wet soil.
Sitka willow is a great wildlife plant and is used in forested riparian buffers to help reduce stream bank erosion.