Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Salix bebbiana


SPECIES: Salix bebbiana
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Tesky, Julie L. 1992. Salix bebbiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : SALBEB SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : SABE2 COMMON NAMES : Bebb willow beak willow beaked willow long-beaked willow diamond willow chaton Petit Minou smooth Bebb willow TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for Bebb willow is Salix bebbiana Sarg. Recognized varieties are as follows [2,5,26,45]: Salix bebbiana var. bebbiana Salix bebbiana var. penrostrata (Rydb.) Schneid. Salix bebbiana var. depilis (Rays) Salix bebbiana var. projecta (Fern.) Schneid. Salix bebbiana var. capreifolia (Fern.) Fern. Salix bebbiana var. luxerians (Fern.) Fern. LIFE FORM : Tree, Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Salix bebbiana
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Bebb willow occurs from Newfoundland west to Hudson Bay and across Canada to the Yukon Territory and interior Alaska. It extends south to southeastern Alaska, British Columbia, the mountains of Washington, central California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming, through western Nebraska, Montana, and south and east from North Dakota and South Dakota to the northeastern United States [2,26,43,45]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood FRES19 Aspen - birch FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES26 Lodgepole pine FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie FRES44 Alpine STATES : AK AZ CA CO CT ID IL IN IA ME MD MI MN MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY OR PA RI SD UT VT WI WY AB BC LB MB NB NF NT NS ON PE PQ SK YT BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 3 Southern Pacific Border 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 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K012 Douglas-fir forest K015 Western spruce - fir forest K016 Eastern ponderosa forest K017 Black Hills pine forest K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest K019 Arizona pine forest K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest K021 Southwestern spruce - fire forest K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub K052 Alpine meadows and barren K055 Sagebrush steppe K063 Foothills prairie K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass K067 Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass K074 Bluestem prairie K081 Oak savanna K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K098 Northern floodplain forest SAF COVER TYPES : 12 Black spruce 13 Black spruce - tamarack 16 Aspen 18 Paper birch 63 Cottonwood 107 White spruce 201 White spruce 202 White spruce - paper birch 203 Balsam poplar 204 Black spruce 210 Interior Douglas-fir 216 Blue spruce 217 Aspen 218 Lodgepole pine 222 Black cottonwood - willow 235 Cottonwood - willow 251 White spruce - aspen 252 Paper birch 253 Black spruce - white spruce 254 Black spruce - paper birch SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Bebb willow can dominate or codominate early seral willow communities along riverbanks, streambanks, overflow channels, and seeps [4,18,27,31,37]. Published classifications describing Bebb willow as a dominant or codominant in community types (cts) or habitat types (hts) are listed below: Area Classification Authority nw MT Riparian cts Boggs & others 1990 sw MT Riparian hts Hansen & others 1989 c & e MT Riparian & wetland cts Hansen & others 1990 Utah & se ID Riparian cts Padgett & others 1989 s Utah Riparian cts Padgett & others 1986 AZ & NM Riparian & scrubland cts Szaro 1990


SPECIES: Salix bebbiana
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : The wood of Bebb willow is medium hard, fine grained, lightweight, and brittle [36,41]. Bebb willow is the most important producer of "diamond willow". This term applies to several species with diamond-shaped patterns on their trunks. When the stems are carved they result in a pattern of diamond-shaped cavities with a sharp contrast between the white sapwood and the reddish brown heartwood. Bebb willow is carved into canes, lamp posts, furniture, and candle holders [41]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Wildlife: Bebb willow is a major source of browse for moose, elk, and deer [18,32,34,41]. Along the Flathead River in Montana, Bebb willow has been rated as highly valuable browse for elk, with heavy utilization common [18]. One year after a fire in northeastern Minnesota, Bebb willow was browsed frequently by moose [32]. In winter, heavy snows tend to bend the branches down so that they are in reach of both moose and snowshoe hares [41]. Results of a southwestern Montana food habit study showed that Bebb willow became increasingly important browse for moose during late winter, making up 15.4 percent of the total forage taken. Its height made it easily accessible when low-growing shrubs such as bog birch (Betula glandulosa) and Wolf willow (Salix wolfii) were covered with snow [10]. Bebb willow shoots, buds, and catkins are eaten by many small mammals, birds, and beaver [17,18,43]. In Illinois, Carolina and black-capped chickadees excavate cavities in Bebb willow for nesting [20]. Livestock: Bebb willow stands usually grow as widely scattered shrubs, allowing for easy livestock access. Forage production is moderate to high, and heavy livestock use of shrubs and grasses in this habitat is common [4]. In southwestern Montana, Bebb willow made up 10.9 percent of the total forage consumed by cattle in the summer [10]. PALATABILITY : Bebb willow has been rated as highly palatable to livestock, big game, and beaver [23,45]. Willow (Salix spp.) palatability increases as the season progresses [40]. The relish and degree of use shown by livestock and wildlife species for Bebb willow in several western states is rated as follows [9]: CO MT ND UT WY Cattle Fair ---- Fair Fair Fair Sheep Fair ---- Fair Fair Good Horses Fair ---- Poor Fair Poor Pronghorn ---- ---- ---- Poor Poor Elk ---- ---- ---- Good Good Mule Deer ---- ---- ---- Fair Good White-tailed deer Good Fair ---- ---- ---- Small mammals ---- ---- ---- Fair Good Small nongame birds ---- ---- ---- Fair Good Upland game birds ---- ---- ---- Poor Good Waterfowl ---- ---- ---- Poor Poor NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Bebb willow has been rated as fair in energy value and poor in protein value [9]. Leaves and twigs collected from northeastern Minnesota had the following energy and nutrient values (percent dry weight) [16]: June August Sept Dec (leaves/twigs) (leaves) (leaves) (twigs) --------------------------------------------------------- Energy (cal/g) ---/4,740 4,838 --- 5,094 Ash 4.9/6.2 5.7 5.2 2.1 Protein 17.9/9.7 11.5 9.4 6.3 Ether extract 3.6/2.1 3.7 4.6 4.8 Crude fiber 11.4/23.8 12.2 13.6 29.6 N-free extract 62.2/58.3 66.9 67.2 57.3 Nutrient composition (percent) of Bebb willow bark collected in the spring from Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, was as follows [29]: Neutral detergent fiber: 35.5 Acid detergent fiber: 34.4 Lignin: 13.1 Cellulose: 20.4 Ash: 2.8 In vitro dry matter digestibility: 45.0 Crude Protein: 3.8 Phosphorus: 0.1 Calcium: 0.8 COVER VALUE : Bebb willow provides cover and protection for many birds and mammals. It also provides shade for fish in streams and ponds [1,9,15,18]. The degree to which Bebb willow provides environmental protection during one or more seasons for wildlife species is rated as follows [9]: CO MT UT WY Pronghorn ---- ---- Poor Poor Elk ---- ---- Fair Fair Mule deer ---- ---- Good Good White-tailed deer Good Good ---- ---- Small mammals ---- ---- Good Good Small nongame birds ---- ---- Good Good Upland game birds ---- ---- Fair Good Waterfowl ---- ---- Poor Fair VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Bebb willow is a relatively good soil stabilizer and is valuable for revegetating streambanks and other disturbed sites [4,45]. Bebb willow readily invades mine spoil piles and has been observed invading barren acid soils near Sudbury, Ontario, particularly after such soils were treated with lime and phosphate [45]. Bebb willow cuttings should be planted on sites that have sufficient moisture to start and carry the cuttings through the growing season [44]. Cuttings are best taken in the spring from dormant 2- to 4-year-old wood [4,21]. Cuttings 12 to 20 inches (30-50 cm) long and greater than 0.4 inch (1 cm) in diameter produce best results, with the cuttings rooting freely along the entire length of the stem. Roots and shoots from cuttings can be expected to appear 10 to 20 days after planting. Using root cuttings and nursery-grown stock will produce the best results [4]. Bebb willow hardwood stem cuttings had a survival rate of 30 to 70 percent on mine overburden in northern Alberta. Mortality was largely attributed to rodent damage. It had poor overwintering ability on oil sand tailings [45]. Bebb willow seed is not available from commercial sources because it is generally viable for only a few days. The maximum period of storage is 4 to 6 weeks, but viability is markedly reduced after 10 days for seed stored at room temperature [45]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Bebb willow was formerly used for baseball bats, charcoal, and gunpowder [41]. Native Americans used the flexible willow stems for baskets, arrow shafts, scoops, and fish traps. Willows provided medicine for many ailments such as cuts, indigestion, worms, and stomach complaints [23]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Soil management: Soils of sites dominated by Bebb willow are often compacted by livestock. Deferring grazing until sites are drier may reduce trampling and compaction problems [4]. Insects: The willow sawfly can be a serious pest of willow cuttings [45]. Control: Herbicides are sometimes used to remove willows from riparian areas, but current environmental constraints make this practice uncommon. Results are erratic, due to high variability within populations and the ability of Bebb willow to rapidly sprout from undamaged root crowns [18].


SPECIES: Salix bebbiana
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Bebb willow is a large shrub 10 feet (3 m) tall or a small multistemmed tree with a bushy top 15 to 25 feet (4.6-7.6 m) tall [6,23,25,41,43]. The twigs are slender and branch at wide angles, and are thinly to densely hairy [5,41]. Largest mature leaves are 2.6 to 6 inches (7.2 cm) long [1]. The bark is smooth when young but becomes rough and furrowed with age [41]. Roots of Bebb willow are shallow and dense [45]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Sexual reproduction: Male and female flowers of Bebb willow are borne on separate individuals. Bebb willow starts flowering from 2 to 10 years of age, with optimum seed-producing years from 10 to 30 [17,18,45]. Bees are the chief pollinating agents [15]. Large quantities of lightweight seed (approximately 2 to 3 million per pound [4.4-6.6 million/kg]) [15] are produced and dispersed in the spring, but seeds remain viable for only a few days [8,17,18,45]. Seeds do not require a period of dormancy prior to germination, but successful establishment requires a moist, exposed mineral substrate that receives full sunlight. These conditions are best on recent deposits of alluvial silts and gravels along waterways or in silted-in, abandoned beaver ponds [8,17,18,45]. Bebb willow seed germination in Alaska was 90 to 100 percent at temperatures between 41 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (5-25 deg C). This adaptation to a wide range of temperatures is particularly important in interior Alaska, where surface soil temperatures may vary over a relatively wide range [46]. Vegetative reproduction: Bebb willow will establish by root shoots and basal stem sprouting [17,45]. Stem and root fragments root naturally if buried in moist soil. Damaged and cut stems produce prolific sprouts from the stem base or root collar. Layering also occurs readily if branches become buried [17]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : In northern Alberta, Bebb willow is common around sloughs in prairies, and in foothills, upland forests, wet lowlands, thickets, and muskegs. It is often found in thickets adjacent to streams, swamps, and lakes in Alaska [45]. In Idaho and Montana, Bebb willow is best represented in riparian communities within the Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) zone and sagebrush/grass habitats. It is apparently absent in the subalpine zone but does sometimes occur in cool Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) dominated streambottoms in the upper Douglas-fir zone [6,18]. Soils: Bebb willow is usually found on moist sandy or gravelly soils but is adapted to a wide variety of soil textures [45]. It will tolerate moderately alkaline soils but does poorly in extremely acidic or alkaline conditions [21,45]. The general pH range for willows is 5.5 to 7.5 [17]. Bebb willow can survive short periods of standing water, but growth rates decline sharply if water persists above the root collar [18,30]. This willow is not drought tolerant, however, and prefers sites with adequate moisture. It is also shade intolerant and grows best in full sunlight [45]. Elevational range: The elevational range of Bebb willow in several states is as follows [6,9,22]: Utah: 4,400 to 8,600 feet (1,341-2,621 m) Colorado: 5,000 to 9,600 feet (1,524-2,926 m) Wyoming: 4,500 to 8,300 feet (1,372-2,530 m) Montana: 2,800 to 8,500 feet (853-2,591 m) Arizona: 8,000 to 11,000 feet (2,438-3,353 m) Idaho: 3,300 to 7,900 feet (1,010-2,410 m) Plant associates: Bebb willow is commonly associated with the following species: Pacific willow (Salix lasiandra), thinleaf alder (Alnus tenuifolia), redosier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), dwarfed blackberry (Rubus pubescens), black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), quaking aspen (P. tremuloides), water birch (Betula occidentalis), bluejoint reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis), beaked sedge (Carex rostrata), water sedge (C. aquatilis), false-Solomons-seal (Smilacina stellata), sweet scented bedstraw (Gallium triflorum), rush (Juncus spp.), and bluegrass (Poa spp.) [18,19,37,45]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Bebb willow is a pioneer species and once established may persist in areas with moist site conditions or frequent disturbance such as fire or flooding. Channel changes that reduce the availability of water may prevent successful germination and establishment of Bebb willow within established stands. Bebb willow has low shade tolerance and therefore loses dominance on sites as the more shade-tolerant species such as black cottonwood, quaking aspen, and Engelmann spruce become established [11,18,19,27]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : In general, Bebb willow flowers from April through July or August [9,15,41]. The fruit ripens soon after flowering, followed by seed dispersal [15,41]. Blooming dates for several western states are as follows [9]: Utah: April-July Colorado: May-August Wyoming: June-August Montana: April-June North Dakota: April-May


SPECIES: Salix bebbiana
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Bebb willow is greatly favored by fire in most habitats [17]. It will sprout rapidly from basal stems following disturbance [17,18,23]. It has small, extremely light seeds capable of dispersing over long distances [42]. 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 bebbiana
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire will kill aboveground parts of Bebb willow. High-severity fires can completely remove organic layers and leave charred roots of willow exposed, thus eliminating basal sprouting [46,18]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : Spring and fall prescribed burns in a Minnesota prairie killed aboveground portions of Bebb willow. In wet habitats, fire killed the tops of Bebb willow but did no apparent harm to underground parts [38]. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Bebb willow will sprout vigorously from the basal stem following fire [17,18,35]. Quick hot fires will maximize sprouting [17,18]. The light seeds readily colonize exposed mineral soil after hot fires. Bebb willow usually becomes the dominant species in willow stands that follow forest fires on upland sites and in thickets adjacent to streams, swamps, and lakes of interior Alaska [41]. The degree to which this species invades after fire, however, depends on the time of year, weather, and presence of a mineral seedbed. A wet period after seed dispersal allows for germination, but a dry period can cause enough seed viability loss to prevent germination. The chance of Bebb willow establishing after a fire lessens as available mineral soil seedbeds become occupied by faster growing herbaceous species and mosses [42]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : Following a low-severity August evening burn in central Saskatchewan, revegetation started within a few days. By the sixth growing season, alder (Alnus spp.), Bebb willow, and aspen (Populus spp.) were the dominant broadleaf species [7]. Bebb willow was common in the moss-herb stage 2 to 5 years after fire on white spruce (Picea glauca) dominated sites in Alaska and persisted through the shrub and tree stage 6 to 25 years after fire. Bebb willow density declines in these stands as more shade-tolerant species become established [11,13,27,42]. For information on prescribed fire and postfire responses of many plant species, including Bebb willow, see this Research Project Summary: FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Prescribed burning is a common wildlife management tool used to rejuvenate decadent Bebb willow communities [18].


SPECIES: Salix bebbiana
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