Balsam Willow


(Salix pyrifolia)

balsam willow
© Paul Marcum, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)
balsam willow
© Steven Daniel, all rights reserved

Balsam willow is a shrub to small tree native to all provinces of Canada and some northern US states. Its habitat includes waters edge, fens, roadsides, and clearings.

Branches are upright; twigs yellowish to reddish brown. Shining reddish buds and twigs add winter interest. Buds and leaves have a spicy balsam fragrance and can last 100 years in herbarium samples.

Leaves are elliptic with pointed ends. Upper surface is glossy and glaucous underneath. Green or brown Catkins appear in May with the leaves of just before; Seeds have wooly tufts.


E-Flora BC. (n.d.). Salix pyrifolia Andersson. Retrieved from

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. (2007). Salix pyrifolia. Retrieved from

MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. October 23, 2020.

Tree Canada. (n.d ). Balsam willow (Salix pyrifolia). Retrieved from