Home >> Plants >> Arroyo Willow
Salix lasiolepis var. bigelovii
0 - 10,000 ft
February, March, April, May
Height | Length:
< 33 ft.
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Pollinator or food source for:
Water-indicating plant, Dioecious, Reproduces vegetatively, Food for insects & larvae, Attracts butterflies, Nesting place for birds
medicinal, textile dye, basketry/tools, shelter
Chihuahuan, Great Basin, Mojave, Sonoran
Arroyo Willows are a visual indicator of water where occurs in the desert. Although dioecious, these willows are mostly insect-pollinated rather than by wind. Stands of this plant make good nesting sites for many animals and small birds feeding on the insect population, including the Least Bell's Vireo and the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher which are both listed as Federally Endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The bark and leaves of Arroyo Willow contain salicin, the primary ingredient in aspirin. Native Americans used boiled leaves and bark as a pain reliever and to reduce fever and swelling. The stems were made into arrow shafts and and various parts were used to make durable baskets and rope. Kumeyaay used the bark for padding cradle boards for infants. Arroyo Willow was also used as a wind break on shelters and woven for rafts in riparian areas.