Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Crack Willow - Salix fragilis
Other Names:  Hybrid White Willow, Brittle Willow, Salix x rubens

Non-native Species

Global Rank: GNRQ
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 0

External Links

General Description
Tree or large shrub to 25 m. Twigs tan, pubescent. Leaf blades 3–10 cm long, narrowly lanceolate with serrate margins, glabrous to sparsely hairy, glaucous below. Female catkins 2–8 cm long, emerging with the leaves on leafy branchlets 1–3 cm long; scales pale, long-hairy, deciduous. Capsules 3–5 mm long, glabrous; stipes 0.5–1 mm long; styles ca. 0.5 mm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The identity of our common, naturalized tree willow has been the source of taxonomic and nomenclatural confusion. Most, if not all of our specimens may be hybrids between Salix fragilis and Salix alba or Salix alba and Salix euxina. The name Salix x rubens is sometimes applied to these hybrids (Dorn 2010, Argus 2010).

Species Range

Range Comments
Introduced to much of temperate North America; native to Eurasia and cultivated as an ornamental or for wildlife habitat (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 6

(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)

Along rivers, streams, around ponds, lakes, wetlands, roads; plains, valleys (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • 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. 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.
    • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Crack Willow"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Crack Willow — Salix fragilis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from