Index of Species Information
SPECIES: Salix drummondiana
SPECIES: Salix drummondiana
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION :
Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Salix drummondiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station,
Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available:
Salix bella Piper
Salix subcoerulea Piper
SCS PLANT CODE :
COMMON NAMES :
The currently accepted scientific name of Drummond's willow is Salix
drummondiana Barratt [3,13].
Early taxonomists subdivided Drummond's willow into several species or
varieties. Recent taxonomic treatments, however, have placed these in
synonomy; thus there are currently no recognized subspecies or varieties
[3,13]. Brunsfeld and Johnson  reported that plants from eastern
Washington and northern Idaho appear to be clearly distinct at some
taxonomic level, and that further study of the group is needed.
LIFE FORM :
FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS :
No special status
OTHER STATUS :
DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE
SPECIES: Salix drummondiana
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION :
Drummond's willow occurs from the southern Yukon Territory south through
British Columbia to the Sierra Nevada of California and eastward
throughout the Rocky Mountains [3,13]. In British Columbia it generally
occurs 100 miles (160 km) or more inland . In Washington it is found
only east of the Cascade Mountains, and in Oregon it is found only in
the Wallowa and Steens mountains .
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
CA CO ID MT NV NM OR UT WA WY
AB BC YT
BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :
K007 Red fir forest
K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K015 Western spruce - fir forest
K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest
K050 Fescue - wheatgrass
K052 Alpine meadows and barren
K055 Sagebrush steppe
SAF COVER TYPES :
201 White spruce
204 Black spruce
206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
207 Red fir
210 Interior Douglas-fir
211 White fir
216 Blue spruce
218 Lodgepole pine
237 Interior ponderosa pine
256 California mixed subalpine
SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES :
HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES :
Drummond's willow commonly dominates or codominates shrubby communities
along middle elevation mountain streams. It frequently mixes with the
ecologically similar Booth willow (Salix boothii). For taxonomic
simplicity, riparian communities dominated by either willow are
classified as Booth willow types in eastern Idaho, western Wyoming, and
Published classifications listing Drummond's willow as a dominant part of
the vegetation in community types (cts), dominance types (dts), habitat
types (hts), or plant associations (pas) are presented below:
Area Classification Authority
w CO montane and subalpine Baker 1989
MT riparian dts Hansen & others 1988
nw MT riparian hts Boggs & others 1990
w-c MT wetland cts Pierce & Johnson 1986
NV riparian cts Manning & Padgett 1989
e ID, w WY riparian cts Youngblood & others 1985a
UT, se ID riparian cts Padgett & others 1989
SPECIES: Salix drummondiana
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE :
In the West, all classes of livestock eat willows (Salix spp.), but
cattle probably consume more than others because they tend to frequent
riparian areas . Drummond's willow is palatable to livestock, but its
importance in their diets has not been reported.
Moose consume large amounts of Drummond's willow during the winter, but
use by other ungulates is generally moderate to light. In Glacier
National Park, moose, elk, and white-tailed deer consumption of Drummond's
willow was moderate, light, and practically nil, respectively . In
the Uinta Mountains of Utah, it made up 92 percent of moose winter
browse . Winter consumption by moose in southwestern Montana was
also high . In some areas of Yellowstone National Park,
overbrowsing by moose and elk has stunted Drummond's willow; most plants
do not reach heights above 5 feet (1.5 m) [10,30].
Willows are a preferred food and building material of beaver .
Willow shoots, catkins, buds, and leaves are eaten by ducks and grouse,
other birds, and small mammals [2,18]. In Colorado, red-napped
sapsuckers drill wells in the stems and feed on the sap of Drummond's
willow. Heavy drilling can occur, with up to 90 percent of a single
plant's branches containing wells. These wells serve as feeding sites
for other animals such as warblers, hummingbirds, chipmunks, and red
Most willows are palatable to livestock and big game [2,38]. In the
West, willows are generally more palatable to sheep than to cattle and
tend to become more palatable to stock as the growing season advances
. In Oregon, Drummond's willow is highly palatable to livestock, big
game, and beavers . In a Yellowstone National Park study, Drummond's
willow was moderately to highly palatable to elk; however, it was
considered to be slightly less palatable than yellow and sandbar willow
(Salix lutea, S. exigua) . In most areas, it is highly palatable to
NUTRITIONAL VALUE :
Drummond's willow's protein value is rated as poor, and its energy value
as fair .
COVER VALUE :
Drummond's willow often forms 6.5-to 13-foot-tall (2-4 m) thickets that
provide good cover for a variety of wildlife species, especially moose,
and excellent nesting and foraging habitat for ducks, shore birds,
vireos, warblers, and sparrows . Dense overhanging branches provide
shade for salmonids [2,19].
VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES :
Drummond's willow is recommended for use in revegetating disturbed
riparian areas. It is especially useful for streambank stabilization.
It is usually planted as rooted or unrooted stem cuttings .
Drummond's willow stems contain predeveloped root primordia. Stem
cuttings develop roots along the entire length of the buried portion
within about 10 days of planting . Because it roots quickly,
unrooted Drummond's willow cuttings may be planted on sites with
sufficient moisture throughout the growing season to start and maintain
growth [26,33]. Rooted cuttings have higher survival rates than
Procedures and techniques for collecting, preparing, and planting willow
cuttings are described by Platts and others  and McClusky and others
OTHER USES AND VALUES :
All willows produce salacin, which is closely related chemically to
aspirin. Native Americans used various preparations from willows to
treat tooth ache, stomach ache, diarrhea, dysentery, and dandruff .
Native Americans also used flexible willow stems for making baskets,
bows, arrows, scoops, fish traps, and other items .
OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
Drummond's willow provides important streambank protection by effectively
stabilizing soils. Heavy grazing in moist Drummond's willow communities
can lead to soil compaction, streambank sloughing, and damage to willow
plants . Drummond's willow becomes decadent or stunted when
overbrowsed by cattle or wild ungulates. Plants recover relatively
rapidly when browsing is excluded [10,35].
BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS
SPECIES: Salix drummondiana
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS :
Drummond's willow is a deciduous shrub generally between 6.5 and 13 feet
(2-4 m) tall, but occasionally up to 20 feet (6 m) tall [9,13]. Male
and female flowers occur on separate plants in erect, nearly sessile
catkins . The fruit is a two-valved capsule.
RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :
REGENERATION PROCESSES :
Drummond's willow's primary mode of reproduction is sexual. It produces
an abundance of small, light-weight seeds. Like most willows, it
probably begins seed production at an early age (between 2 and 10 years)
. At maturity, the fruit splits open and releases the seed. Each
seed has a cottony down that aids in dispersal by wind and water .
Seeds are dispersed during the growing season and remain viable for only
about 1 week . The seeds contain significant amounts of chlorophyll
and photosynthesis generally begins as soon as the seed is moistened.
Germination occurs within 24 hours of dispersal if a moist seedbed is
reached . Exposed mineral soils are the best seedbed .
Germination and/or seedling establishment is inhibited by litter .
Vegetative reproduction: Drummond's willow sprouts from the root crown or
stem base if aboveground stems are broken or destroyed by cutting,
flooding, or fire . Detached stem fragments will root if they are
buried in moist soil . This occurs when stem fragments are
transported by floodwaters and deposited on fresh alluvium [3,18].
SITE CHARACTERISTICS :
Drummond's willow occurs along the borders of streams, rivers, beaver
ponds, and lakes, and in wet meadows and marshes [6,9]. It grows at
moderate elevations from lower forested and nonforested foothills to
subalpine habitats. It is generally most abundant in subalpine fir
(Abies lasiocarpa)-Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) habitat types
[6,9]. In these cool habitats, it is not restricted to steamsides, but
occupies moist, well-aerated soils of meadows, broad valley bottoms,
side slope seeps, and stream and pond margins [6,9,25]. At lower
elevations it is uncommon, and usually confined to the edges of streams
in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), or
ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) vegetation zones [6,9]. In a valley in
northwestern Yellowstone National Park dominated by silver sagebrush
(Artemisia cana), Drummond's willow is primarily found within 65 feet (20
m) of the river's edge .
Soils: Drummond's willow typically grows on moist, well-aerated mineral
soils . Textures vary greatly from cobbles and gravels immediately
adjacent to waterways to sandy or clay loams in broad valleys . It
often occurs on fine-textured soils of sediment-filled beaver ponds
. Shallow organic soils overlying alluvium may develop on wet,
marshy, sedge-dominated sites . Water tables vary from near the
surface to about 39 inches (1 m) [19,44].
Elevation: Drummond's willow grows at moderate elevations in the
mountains. Elevational ranges for the following western states are
from 8,400 to 9,500 feet (2,560-2,896 m) in California 
from 4,000 to 7,100 feet (1,220-2,165 m) in nw Montana 
from 7,000 to 10,790 feet (2,135-3,290 m) in Utah 
from 6,000 to 10,000 feet (1,829-3,049 m) in Wyoming [2,44]
Associates: Associated shrubs include Booth willow, Barclay willow
(Salix barclayi), planeleaf willow (S. planifolia ssp. planifolia),
Geyer willow (S. geyeriana), mountain willow (S. monticola), Wolf willow
(S. wolfii), mountain gooseberry (Ribes montigenum), whitestem currant
(Ribes inerme), bearberry honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata), thinleaf
alder (Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia), red-osier dogwood (Cornus
sericea), alder buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia), and marsh cinquefoil
(Potentilla palustris) [4,6,9]. Understory associates include bluejoint
reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis), beaked sedge (Carex rostrata),
water sedge (C. aquatilis), tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa),
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), field mint (Mentha arvensis), and
arrowleaf groundsel (Senecio triangularis) [6,9,23,29].
SUCCESSIONAL STATUS :
Drummond's willow tends to form relatively stable, long-lived seral
communities that are maintained by seasonal flooding or high water
tables. However, these sites experience successional shifts if water
tables change. If sites become wetter, sedges may replace Drummond's
willow. If they become drier, Drummond's willow may be replaced by upland
shrubs or conifers [18,44].
In northwestern Montana, high-elevation thinleaf and Sitka alder (Alnus
sinuata) are seral to Drummond's willow .
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT :
Drummond's willow generally begins flowering in May [12,28].
SPECIES: Salix drummondiana
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS :
Drummond's willow sprouts from the root crown following top-kill by fire
[6,21]. Its abundant wind-dispersed seed may be important in colonizing
Fire is relatively infrequent in the meadow and streamside habitats
Drummond's willow occupies. In fact, these riparian areas frequently act
as fire breaks. However, under dry conditions, riparian habitats can
burn severely .
FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find Fire Regimes".
POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :
survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex
off-site colonizer; seed carried by wind; postfire years 1 and 2
off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1&2
SPECIES: Salix drummondiana
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT :
Willows on organic soils may be killed by severe fires which burn deep
into the soil, char the roots, and prevent sprouting . Less severe
fires only top-kill willows.
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT :
PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE :
Top-killed Drummond's willow plants sprout following fire. Quick, hot
fires generally result in numerous sprouts per plant. Slow burning
fires result in fewer sprouts because these fires often burn down into
the roots, reducing Drummond's willow's sprouting ability .
Although there is no documentation of Drummond's willow seedling
establishment following fire, other willows have been observed to do so
when moist mineral soils are present . Drummond's willow seeds are
dispersed in the summer, remain viable for only about 1 week, and
require moist mineral soil for germination. Therefore, the degree of
seedling establishment following fire depends upon the season of burn,
on the weather, and on the amount of mineral soil exposed .
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE :
FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
Prescribed fire can be used to rejuvenate decadent Drummond's willow .
Wet, poorly drained sites may be difficult to burn until they dry out in
the late summer or fall.
SPECIES: Salix drummondiana
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