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Native Plant of the Week: Prairie Willow

Family: Salicaceae


Name: Salix humilis var humilis


Bloom Time: April-May


Flower: Greenish-yellow catkins


Soil Condition: Dry, Average


Light: Sun, Partial Shade


Height: 6-12' tall by 4-8' wide


Native Range: Central to Eastern United States including Long Island


Zone: 3-8

Prairie Willow is a fast-growing but short-lived shrub. It is still worth growing because it is a fantastic nectar source for early pollinators. It is the host plant to many butterfly and moth species making this a must-have in a bird garden. It is a great addition to a native hedgerow. Unlike other willows, it prefers drier soil.

Maintenance: Susceptible to wind damage. May be cut back hard if necessary.


Benefits: Willow is the host plant to several butterfly and moth species (400+). Birds eat the seeds and use the fluff from the catkins to line their nests. Attracts many early native pollinators.

Photo Credit: R.W. Smith


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