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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Cascade Willow - Salix cascadensis

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana. Species is known in Montana only from a small area of the Anaconda-Pintlers. The remote, high-elevation habitat should greatly minimize the potential for any negative impacts to the viability of the species in the state. Accurate estimates of population levels are lacking.
General Description
Cascades Willow is a low, mat-forming shrub with prostrate stems that arise from creeping underground branches. The firm, alternate, narrowly elliptic leaves are 10-15 mm long, have short petioles, mostly inconspicuous lateral veins, and entire margins. Foliage is sparsely long-hairy when young but becomes glabrous with age. Flowers are without petals and sepals and are borne in dense spikes (aments or catkins) at the tips of lateral branches; males and females occur on separate plants. Male flowers have 2 stamens. Female aments are 1-2 cm long with dark, long-hairy scales subtending each of the 12-25 ovaries. Fruits are glabrous to long-hairy, lance-shaped capsules that are 4-5 mm long.

Flowering in July.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Salix rotundifolia and S. reticulata have elliptic leaves with more rounded tips. Salix arctica has larger female aments and leaves that are lighter beneath than above.

Species Range

Range Comments
B.C. to WA, east to MT, WY, CO, and UT. Sparse.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 3

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Moist cliffs, talus slopes, and tundra in the upper subalpine and alpine zones.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Achuff, P. L. and L. S. Roe. 1992. Botanical survey of the Goat Flat proposed Research Natural Area, Deerlodge National Forest. Unpublished report to the Deerlodge National Forest. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 31 pp.
    • Argus, G. 2010. Salix. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. Vol. 7.
    • Dorn, R. D. 1970. The Willows of Montana. Montana State University Herbarium, Dept. of Botany and Microbiology, Bozeman, Montana. 18 pp.
    • Dorn, R.D. 2010. The genus Salix in North America north of Mexico. 59 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Vanderhorst, J. 1994. [unpublished memo of November 13, 1994 to B. Heidel]. 6 pp.
    • Vanderhorst, J.P. 1994. Sensitive plant surveys in the Gallatin National Forest, Montana. Unpublished report to the Gallatin National Forest. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 54 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Cascade Willow — Salix cascadensis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from