Salix arizonica
Author: Dorn

Arizona willow

Salicaceae (Willow Family)

Close up of Salix arizonica by Steve O'Kane.
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Close up of Salix arizonica by Gwen Kitel.
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Ranks and Status

Global rank: G2G3
State rank: S1
Federal protection status: USFS Sensitive
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Salix arizonica by Martha Narey.
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General description: Short shrubs, 0.1-1.5 (2.5) m tall; year-old twigs reddish or sometimes yellowish, glabrous or pubescent; stipules small, soon deciduous; petioles 3-8 mm long; leaf blades glandular-serrulate, acute to obtuse, with a cordate or subcordate (rounded) base, ovate to obovate, mostly 1.5-2.4 times as long as wide, 1-5 cm long and 0.5-2.8 (3.1) cm wide, sparsely pubescent to sometimes glabrous, non-glaucous; catkins precocious to coetaneous, sessile or on leafy peduncles to 1.2 cm long; floral bracts brown or black, persistent, with long, straight or wavy hairs; staminate catkins 1-3 cm long; stamens 2, filaments glabrous; pistillate catkins 1-4 cm long; capsule 3-5 mm long, glabrous, stipes 0.2-1.5 mm long; style 0.5-1.5 mm long, longer than the stigmas (Culver and Lemley 2013).

Look Alikes: Salix arizonica can hybridize with S. brachycarpa and possibly S. wolfii.  Salix arizonica can be distinguished by its short stature and broad, non-glaucous leaves with cordate or subcordate bases (Culver and Lemly 2013).

Phenology: Flowers May-June.

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Salix arizonica by Gwen Kitel.
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This species is found in moist meadows and along low-gradient streams (Culver and Lemly 2013).  Associated species include; Salix wolfii, Pentaphylloides floribunda, Salix monticola, Psychrophila leptosepala, Carex aquatilis, Phleum commutatum, Carex utriculata, Deschampsia cespitosa, Geum macrophyllum, Swertia perennis, Clementsia rhodantha, and Potentilla pulcherrima.

Elevation Range: 10,292 - 10,318 feet (3,137 - 3,145 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Salix arizonica in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2015, COMaP v9).
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Distribution of Salix arizonica in Colorado.
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Occurrences are concentrated near the margins of the Colorado Plateau in southern Utah, eastern Arizona, northern New Mexico, and southern Colorado, with Utah and New Mexico being the principal areas of distribution (Welsh et al. 2008). Known occurrences are found in three primary clusters separated by 300-500 km: (1) the White Mountains of east-central Arizona (where restricted to 15-20 drainages around Mount Baldy); (2) the High Plateaus of south-central Utah (including the Markagunt Plateau near Brian Head Peak, the Paunsagunt Plateau along the East Fork of the Sevier River, the vicinity of Boulder Mountain, the Monroe Mountains, and Fishlake Mountain); and (3) the Southern Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado (where concentrated in the southern Sangre de Cristos, Nacamiento Mountains, and southern San Juan Mountains) (Decker 2006, Argus 2007).
State range: Only known from Conejos County in Colorado. Also known from Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Summary results of an analysis of the status of Salix arizonica based on several ranking factors. This species was concluded to be "Moderately Conserved”. From Rondeau et al. 2011.
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The primary threat at this time is considered to be incompatible grazing (Rondeau et al. 2011). Threats to the persistence of Salix arizonica in U.S. Forest Service Region 2 are grazing by domestic and wild ungulates, hydrologic alterations, impacts from timber harvesting, impacts from recreational use, consequences arising from small population sizes, and global climate change. The detrimental effects of grazing and altered hydrology have been documented in occurrences outside Region 2. Information on the incidence and potential severity of other threats is less well known, due to the relatively recent discovery of both the species and many of its occurrences (Decker 2006).

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2015. Flora of Colorado. Brit Press, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, TX. 818 pp.
    • Argus, G. W. 2007. Salix (Salicaceae) distribution maps and a synopsis of their classification in North America, north of Mexico. Harvard Papers in Botany 12(2): 335-368.
    • Arizona Game and Fish Department. 2002. Salix arizonica. Unpublished abstract compiled and edited by the Heritage Data Management System, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, AZ. 4 pp.
    • Arizona Rare Plant Committee. circa 2001. Arizona rare plant field guide: A collaboration of agencies and organizations. Arizona Rare Plant Committee, Phoenix.
    • Culver, D.R. and J.M. Lemly. 2013. Field Guide to Colorado's Wetland Plants; Identification, Ecology and Conservation. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, 694 pp.
    • Decker, K. 2006. Salix arizonica Dorn (Arizona willow): A technical conservation assessment. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Online. Available: (Accessed 2009).
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, ed. (FNA). 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Oxford Univ. Press, New York, Oxford.
    • Holmgren, N.H., P.K. Holmgren, and A. Cronquist. 2005. Intermountain flora. Volume 2, part B. Subclass Dilleniidae. The New York Botanical Garden Press. 488 pages.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
    • Maschinski, J. No date. Center for Plant Conservation National Collection Plant Profile: Salix arizonia. Online. Available: Accessed 2003, June 17.
    • Mygatt, J. 1999. New Mexico Rare Plants: Salix arizonica (Arizona willow). New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Online. Available: (Version 15 March 2002). Accessed 2003, June 17.
    • Neely, B., S. Panjabi, E. Lane, P. Lewis, C. Dawson, A. Kratz, B. Kurzel, T. Hogan, J. Handwerk, S. Krishnan, J. Neale, and N. Ripley. 2009. Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Strategy, Developed by the Colorado Rare Plant conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Boulder, Colorado, 117 pp.
    • Rondeau, R., K. Decker, J. Handwerk, J. Siemers, L. Grunau, and C. Pague. 2011. The state of Colorado's biodiversity 2011. Prepared for The Nature Conservancy. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
    • Rutman, S. 1992. Handbook of Arizona's endangered, threatened, and candidate plants. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Phoenix, Arizona.
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995. Withdrawal of proposed rule to list the plant Salix arizonica (Arizona willow) as endangered with critical habitat. Federal Register 60(82): 20951-20952.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 555 pp.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2003. A Utah Flora. 3rd edition. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 912 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2008. A Utah Flora. 4th edition, revised. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 1019 pp.

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