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Sandbar Willow
Salix interior

This shrub has two growth forms: a small tree up to 20' tall with a trunk up to 6 inches across, or a thicket of little-branched woody stems up to 8' tall. An older tree develops gray flaking bark on its trunk, while the trunk bark of younger trees is gray and more smooth. Woody branches and slender stems are variably colored, but often gray or yellowish-brown and smooth. The alternate leaves are up to 5 inches long and 1/2 inch across; they are linear in shape and remotely denticulate along their margins. Mature leaves are usually hairless; their upper surfaces are medium green, while their lower surfaces are pale green.

USDA symbol: SAIN3

General Information

Plant TypeShrub
Height5 to 22 feet
Light ExposureSun
Soil MoistureWet
Bloom ColorYellow
Sandbar Willow (Sandbar Willow<div><em class="small">Salix interior</em></div>)
Photo credit: Minnesota Wildflowers (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceVery High
General Resilience10
Salt ToleranceNone
Stress ToleranceFire Tolerant

Pollinator Value: Very High

Bloom MonthsMay to September
Larval Host ofBees, Butterflies, Moths
Specific Pollinators Hostednumerous bee species; Hemileuca nevadensis, Numerous butterfly species
Pollinator BenefitInsect Pollinated, Provides Nectar, Supports Generalists

Project Planning

Project TypeErosion Control, Restoration
Coefficient of Conservatism2
Herbivore SensitivityMedium
Rate of SpreadFast
Soil StabilizationDeep
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyAitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lac qui Parle, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Mahnomen, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Roseau, Sherburne, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Wilkin, Winona, Wright, Yellow Medicine
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands