Arroyo Willow can range in size from ten to thirty feet. It is a many branching large shrub or tree that grows as wide as it grows high, and would thus require a large area near a stream or moist area. It can grow in sun and shade. It is deciduous, with the leaves turning yellow in late fall. Female and male trees are separate, and produce catkins in early spring usually before the leaves grow. Small cottony seeds are dispersed by wind, and can collect in areas that do not have a through-draft.
Arroyo Willow is common throughout California to an elevation of about 7000 feet. It was used by Native Americans in basket weaving, thatching, fishing poles and firewood. It is an important wildlife plant for birds, bees and butterflies – where some of the latter are Lorquin’s Admiral, Mourning Cloaks and Sylvan Hairstreaks.
The scientific name, Salix lasiolepis, is derived from the Latin Salix meaning “to spring” because of fast growth, and the Latin word, lasiolepis meaning “shaggy scales” of the flowering parts.
All of the photos were taken on or near More Mesa.