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|Photo of shining willow by Sheri Hagwood, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.|
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Fryer, Janet. 2015. Salix lucida, shining willow. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/salluc/all.html .
Updates: On 27 February 2018, the common and scientific names of this species were changed in FEIS from: Salix lasiandra, Pacific willow
to: Salix lucida, shining willow. Maps were also added.
|This Species Review summarizes information on fire effects and related ecology of shining willow that was available in the scientific literature as of 2015. Details and documentation of source materials follow this summary.
Common names are used in this Species Review. See the Appendix for a list of scientific names and links to other FEIS Species Reviews.
Shining willow grows in wet to moist sites at middle to high elevations. It dominates many tall willow shrublands, and codominates some riparian mixed-shrublands and mixed-deciduous woodlands. It commonly associates with other willows, cottonwoods, and balsam poplar.
Shining willow usually grows to tree height, although it grows as a shrub at high elevations. It can reproduce from seed and vegetatively by sprouting from the root crown. Its light, cottony seeds disperse readily via wind or water. A continually moist substrate is required for germination and establishment; moist mineral soil is preferred. Shining willow is a fast-growing, early-seral species, usually establishing just above the floodplain after initial colonizers.
Experts report that shining willow establishes after fire by sprouting from the root crown. It may also establish from seed on burns with moist mineral soil. However, postfire responses of shining willow are not well documented in the literature. A study in North Cascades National Park, Washington, found shining willow showed rapid recovery after wildfires in riparian coast Douglas-fir stands. Across its distribution, fire regimes of plant communities with shining willow vary widely; some communities with shining willow rarely burn and others burn in surface, mixed, and crown fires.
Shining willow is an important wildlife and rangeland plant. It provides browse and cover for a variety of animals. It is recommended for restoration projects and is easily propagated.
For Salix lucida var. caudata:
For Salix lucida var. lasiandra:
western black willow
western shining willow
For Salix lucida subsp. lucida:
Salix lucida Muhl. subsp. caudata, greenleaf willow
Salix lucida Muhl. subsp. lasiandra (Benth.) A.E. Murray, Pacific willow
Salix lucida Muhl. subsp. lucida (Benth.) A.E. Murray [30,97], shining willow
In this review, "shining willow" refers to the species as a whole. Subspecies are referred to by their scientific names.
Shining willow hybridizes with Sierra willow .SYNONYMS:
For Salix lucida:
Salix lasiandra Benth. [41,45,49,63]
For Salix lucida Muhl. subsp. caudata:
Salix caudata A. Heller
Salix fendleriana Andersson 
Salix lasiandra Benth. subsp. caudata
Salix lasiandra Benth. var. caudata (Nutt.) A.E. Murray [9,30,41,49,85]
Salix lasiandra Benth. var. fendleriana (documented in )
Salix lasiandra Benth. var. recomponens Raup 
For Salix lucida Muhl. subsp. lasiandra (Benth.) A.E. Murray:
Salix lasiandra var. abramsii Ball 
Salix lasiandra Benth. var. lancifolia (Andersson) Bebb [9,45,85]
Salix lasiandra Benth var. lasiandra [41,49,85]
Salix lasiandra Benth. var. macrophylla (Andersson) Little [9,61]
Salix lucida Muhl. subsp. lasiandra (Benth.) Argus (documented in )
|Distributions of shining willow in the conterminous United States (right) and far north (left). Maps courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC  [2018, February 27].|
Shining willow is distributed from Alaska east to Labrador and south to California, Kansas, and North Carolina [49,63,97]. It is mostly absent from dry interior regions of the Intermountain West . Distributions of the subspecies are shown below.
|Distributions of Salix lucida subsp. caudata, Salix lucida subsp. lasiandra, and Salix lucida subsp. lucida, respectively. Maps courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC  [2018, February 27].|
States and provinces [49,97]:
United States: AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY
Canada: AB, BC, NT, SK, YT
SITE CHARACTERISTICS AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
Site characteristics: Shining willow grows in wet to moist sites: along streams, rivers, and lakeshores and in seeps, wet meadows, freshwater swamps, and moist alluvial bottomlands [9,22,28,30]. In central Oregon, it is an indicator species for riparian areas and moist to wet meadows at low to moderate elevations .
Elevation: Shining willow occurs from sea level to 10,000 feet (0-3,100 m) across its range . It is most common at midmontane elevations. It is found at low to middle elevations in Montana  and Canada  and from sea level to midmontane elevations in the shining Northwest . In a 1900 survey on the Stanislaus and Tahoe National Forests, California, Sudworth  found shining willow was most common below coniferous forests, within riparian areas surrounded by oak woodlands or chaparral. Elevational ranges are shown below by area.
|Idaho, eastern||4,600-6,600 [11,38]|
|Nevada||<7,700 feet |
|Utah||up to 8,000 |
|Washington, Mt Rainier National Park||2,000-4,000 |
|Wyoming||4,100-10,000; most common along low-elevation streams |
|Rocky Mountains||4,100-10,000 for tail-leaf willow
5,400-8,900 for the typical variety 
Soils: Shining willow grows in wet to moist soils . Textures are usually silt, sand, or gravel; shining willow commonly grows on sandbars [28,45], gravelbars [15,28], and alluvial soils. In Idaho, it grows in sandy or gravelly soils close to stream edges or high water lines . Best growth is attained in alluvial river silts . In Wyoming, shining willow communities occur on volcanic alluvium in the Bighorn Basin  and on the Shoshone National Forest .
See the Appendix for a list of scientific names and links to FEIS Species Reviews.
Plant communities: Shining willow is common or dominant in many riparian plant communities across its range. In riparian woodlands, it commonly codominates with black cottonwood  or balsam poplar , and it codominates or dominates some riparian thickets . For example, it codominates in tall shrub communities with alders [67,104] or other willows [67,74,104] and often occurs in riparian mixed shrublands[46,74].
In Alaska, shining willow is common in warm taiga areas, such as warm slopes dominated by quaking aspen . It often forms thickets or occurs in shrub communities on riverbanks and alluvial areas , typically in association with alders and/or other willows . It grows along the Tanana River with balsam poplar, thinleaf alder, Alaska willow, sandbar willow, smallfruit willow, and firmleaf willow [1,13].
In the Pacific Northwest, shining willow grows in the understories of balsam poplar communities. It and other willows may form "nearly impenetrable" thickets . It is common west of the Cascade crest from British Columbia to northern California, forming woodlands on major floodplains or codominating in tall shrublands with other willows . Along Meadow Creek in Oregon, shining willow grew in sandbar willow-black cottonwood communities with thinleaf alder and MacKenzie's willow .
In California, shining willow grows in valley, coastal, and montane riparian communities. In the Central Valley, shining willow occurs in riparian forests with box elder, California sycamore, Fremont cottonwood, and valley oak [43,80]. Lianas including California wild grape and Pacific poison-oak are conspicuous. These communities are usually above the active floodplain on upper terraces . It codominates with buttonbush in backwater sloughs, oxbows, and other quiet waters. These communities, once common, are now rare due to agricultural development . In the North Coast Ranges, it grows in redwood forests with bigleaf maple, red alder, and black cottonwood . Near Eel River, shining willow grows in black cottonwood-Oregon ash communities . In coastal central and southern California, shining willow codominates with white alder in arroyo riparian forests, especially on dunelands within the coastal fog zone . Inland, it may codominate with white alder and other willows along some rivers and permanent streams . In the South Coast Ranges, shining willow occurs in riparian forests with white alder, California sycamore, Fremont cottonwood, and red willow . In the San Bernardino Mountains, shining willow grows in quaking aspen woodlands with Jeffrey pine, white fir, incense-cedar, and black cottonwood. The understory is composed of Wood's rose and wax currant, and the ground layer is a "rich herbaceous flora" of perennials . A black cottonwood-quaking aspen-shining willow/thinleaf alder-thimbleberry/swollen beaked sedge-Pacific onion community is described for the Lake Tahoe region. These communities occur along streams within Jeffrey pine landscapes .
In Nevada, shining willow grows on stabilized channels above the scour zone. It dominates some tall willow communities in the Toiyabe and Independence ranges. Forbs usually dominate the ground layer; Columbian monkshood and stinging nettle are common dominants. These tall willow communities are surrounded by mountain big sagebrush communities . Shining willow/forb communities of similar composition and structure occur on the Humboldt National Forest . In the Ruby Mountains, Shining willow/shining willow communities occur downslope from singleleaf pinyon-Utah juniper communities .
In Utah, shining willow codominates in tall shrub communities with other willows and sometimes codominates in thinleaf alder communities. Herbaceous dominants may include field horsetail, creeping bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and swollen beaked sedge. Codominant willows may include Geyer's willow, narrowleaf willow, and Drummond's willow. In southwestern Utah, a shining willow-narrowleaf willow/Nebraska sedge-Baltic rush community occurs on alluvial soils with seasonally high water tables .
In Idaho, shining willow occurs within riparian zones of Wyoming big sagebrush, mountain big sagebrush, and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir communities . It is codominant in black cottonwood stands, in mixed willow stands with peachleaf willow and narrowleaf willow, and in mixed stands with various other shrubs including Wood's rose and red-osier dogwood [46,74]. These mixed-shrub communities often have ground layers of herbs such as blue wildrye, Kentucky bluegrass, and scouringrush horsetail .
In Wyoming, shining willow codominates some riparian woodlands with Fremont cottonwood, quaking aspen, and peachleaf willow at low (4,500 feet (1,400 m) to high (up to 8,000 feet (2,400 m) elevation. Shrub dominants include Wood's rose, bristly black currant, and red-osier dogwood. Shining willow also grows in wet Baltic rush meadows at 6,500-8,000 feet (2,000-2,400 m) elevation. Other dominant graminoids may include Nebraska sedge, swollen beaked sedge, and smoothstem sedge, with occasional silverberry and water birch . It is important in subalpine fir-Engelmann spruce riparian communities .
In Montana, shining willow dominates some communities adjacent to large streams and rivers at low to midelevations, often in association with Booth's willow, yellow willow, and red-osier dogwood. It grows as a tree at low elevations but becomes multistemmed and shrubby at midelevations [37,39]. Shining willow is a minor community type in western and south-central Montana, generally associated with the black cottonwood community type .
On floodplains of the Animas River, Colorado, shining willow is associated with thinleaf alder and herbs including mountain clover, dwarf fireweed, and tickle grass . In foothills of the Front Range, it is sometimes dominant in narrowleaf cottonwood-willow streamside associations. Netleaf hackberry is common in this type; codominant willows may include blue-stem willow and narrowleaf willow. This type occurs in wide, open canyon bottomlands . A 1907 publication identified a narrowleaf cottonwood-Scouler's willow formation with shining willow. The association was most common on canyon bottoms but occasionally ran up sheltered canyon walls .Shining willow grows in interior ponderosa pine forests in Arizona and New Mexico . It also grows in riparian shrub communities, including Arizona alder-bigtooth maple-Arizona walnut/fowl mannagrass, green ash-Goodding's willow-Fremont cottonwood, and blue-stem willow-peachleaf willow-yellow willow communities .
Shining willow is a deciduous  small tree or tall shrub, occasionally growing up to 40 feet (12 m) tall [9,45]. It typically has several stems [28,57], becoming increasingly shrubby with increasing elevation .The bark is smooth and thin , and the bole and branches are brittle . Twigs are relatively stout . It has lanceolate leaves [21,57] that are 2 to 5 inches (5-13 cm) long . Shining willow is dioecious, so individual trees bear either pistillate or staminate catkins [9,20]. The fruit is a hairless  capsule [9,20,57], but the seed coat is covered with soft, cottony hairs [62,110]. The typical variety differs from tail-leaf willow by having glaucous undersides to the leaves [21,57].Raunkiaer  life form:
|Shining willow seeds, ready to disperse. Photo permission of SevenOaks Native Nursery.|
Shining willow regenerates from seed and by sprouting. A continually moist substrate is required for germination and seedling establishment.
Breeding system and pollination: Shining willow is dioecious [10,88,110]. Many populations may be skewed to females. Information on pollination method(s) of shining willow was not found in the literature. Willow species vary in reliance on insects vs. wind for pollination, with insect pollination more important for most willow species .
Seed production: Shining willow seed production is "prolific" . Although information on age at first reproduction was not available for shining willow in particular, Salix spp. seedlings usually first produce seeds at 5 to 10 years old. Sprouts may produce seeds at 1 or 2 years old .
Shining willow is highly desirable browse, and herbivores can greatly reduce its flower and seed production .
Seed dispersal: Shining willow's light-weight seeds are dispersed by wind  and water . The cottony hairs on the seed coat lend substantial air and water buoyancy to the seeds. The seeds may carry for several miles , but most fall near the parent plant .
Seed banking: Shining willow has a transient soil and water seed bank. It disperses seeds in summer; seeds of summer-dispersing willows are viable for about 8 weeks .
Germination and seedling establishment: Shining willow seeds are nondormant and germinable upon dispersal . A moist substrate is required for germination . Mineral soil results in best germination and establishment [109,110]. Hansen  reported that shining willow germinates on a variety of alluvial soils.
Plant growth: Shining willow is fast-growing. In a treatise on the genus, Newsholme  described shining willow as "vigorous" and "strongly growing" relative to other willows. An experiment comparing growth of riparian plant species in 2 temperature-controlled greenhouses suggests that shining willow grows faster in subtropical than in temperate climates .
Browsing can reduce shining willow growth . In Jordan Crater Research Natural Area, Oregon, shining willow in areas with American beavers had significantly less height and crown diameter than shining willow in areas that were inaccessible to American beavers due to lava caps (P>0.05) . However, shining willow usually recovers unless heavy browsing is prolonged over several growing seasons . Five months after shining willows in a lava cap area were clipped to the root crown, they averaged 8.2 feet (2.5 m) tall . In Malheur County, Oregon, seedling growth and density of shining willow was similar with light- to moderate-intensity spring or fall cattle grazing and in cattle exclosures, but shining willow growth and density were reduced with heavy to very heavy grazing .
Vegetative regeneration: Shining willow sprouts from the root crown after top-kill [83,110]. Shining willow stems, and even whole plants, may be dispersed downstream and re-root , although seed regeneration may be more important than vegetative regeneration on floodplains . Shining willow does not sprout from the roots .SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Shining willow is more common just above than on newly deposited alluvium. On the Tanana River floodplain near Fairbanks, Alaska, it is most common on new terraces, 2 to 5 years after initial colonization by other willows (often, sandbar and Alaska willows) and horsetails [1,44,100]. Shining willow codominated the youngest terrace with Alaska willow, small-fruit willow, and firmleaf willow. Thinleaf alder and balsam poplar seedlings were establishing with these willows . By the Animas River, Colorado, shining willow had 0.3% cover on 30-year-old floodplain sites, but it was not present on younger or older floodplain sites . In Montana, shining willow may be successionally replaced by black cottonwood and eventually, by interior Douglas-fir .
Heavy browsing pressure can favor later-successional species over shining willow and other willows. Along the Tanana River, aboveground biomass of shining willow was less in areas with high-density moose populations (7.5 kg/ha shining willow browse removed at ~1 moose/km²) compared to areas with less dense populations (1.0 kg/ha removed at ~0.2 moose/km²). Areas with high moose density also had higher proportions of dead:live sprouts of shining willow and other willows (P<0.001). Thinleaf alder and balsam poplar had less browsing pressure and were replacing the willows .
Disturbance may enhance colonization by shining willow. In the 1980s, shining willow dominated "semixeric", high swales on the Merced River of California (26%-75% cover). These swales were the result of gold dredging that occurred from 1907 to 1951. Narrowleaf willow codominated (26%-50% cover) .See Fire adaptations and plant response to fire for information on shining willow succession after fire.
Shining willow showed good recovery after wildfires in North Cascades National Park, Washington. In July 1970, lightning ignited several fires. The 3 largest of these burns—named Thunder Creek No.1 (55 acres (22 ha)), Thunder Creek No. 2 (410 acres (170 ha)), and Silver Creek (290 acres (120 ha))—were monitored in 1971, 1972, and 1974. Coast Douglas-fir dominated most prefire stands; western hemlock and western redcedar were overstory associates. Shining willow had best recovery on Silver Creek, where it more than doubled its cover and quadrupled its height from postfire year 2 to postfire year 4. Of the 3 sites, fire was most severe on Silver Creek, and sprouting species in general showed best recovery on that site. However, the authors did not note whether shining willow had regenerated from sprouts or seeds on any of the 3 burns .
|Shining willow postfire abundance and growth after 1970 wildfires in North Cascades National Park |
(postfire year 1)
(postfire year 2)
(postfire year 4)
|Thunder Creek No. 1||0 (0)||<0.05 (44)||2.8 (92)|
|Thunder Creek No. 2||0 (0)||0.4 (34.8)||5.1 (86.9)|
|Silver Creek||0 (0)||8.9 (97)||16.2 (97)|
FUELS AND FIRE REGIMES:
Fuels: As of 2015, little information was available on how shining willow affects fire intensity and spread. Willows in general have moderately low dry-weight density  and are not highly flammable .
Fire regimes: Fire regimes of riparian communities with shining willow are highly variable across time and space. Fires are often of lower frequency and severity in riparian than in upland areas , but there are cases in the western United States where fire severity is similar  or more severe  in riparian than in upland areas. Montane riparian communities of the western United States and Alaska have surface, mixed-severity, and crown fires; this may vary across years within a plant community and among plant communities within a landscape . For example, balsam poplar communities of interior Alaska have highly variable fire regimes, with surface, mixed-severity, and crown fires [18,65]. However, alder-willow shrublands rarely burn  even when they are adjacent to balsam poplar communities . Fire regimes of black cottonwood communities are not well known, but limited evidence suggests that fires are spotty and of low severity [24,78,81]. Riparian chaparral communities of California and Oregon typically have only replacement-severity fires , while riparian coniferous forests have surface, mixed, and crown fires [6,56]. These FEIS Fire Regime Syntheses provide further information on fire regimes of plant communities in which shining willow occurs:
FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
Information on state- and province-level protection status of plants in the United States and Canada is available at NatureServe.
IMPORTANCE TO WILDLIFE AND LIVESTOCK:
Shining willow provides important browse and cover for wildlife and livestock. White-footed voles , snowshoe hares , American beavers [53,58], mule deer [15,17,58], elk , and moose [1,13] browse shining willow.
Riparian communities with shining willow are important livestock rangelands. Low-elevation sites may be used year-round .
Shining willow provides cover for numerous wildlife species [2,3,7]. American beavers use shining willow for dam material . Dusky-footed woodrats in western Oregon use shining willow as nesting trees. They apparently select nest trees based on availability rather than preference for particular tree species . On the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado, yellow-rumped warblers used shining willow for nesting more than expected based on shining willow frequency (P<0.05) . In California, the federally Endangered least Bell's vireo nests in shining willow branches .
Shining willow provides shade for trout and other cold-water fish [38,58]. Shining willow trees that fall into watercourses are a source of large woody debris that creates deep pools for fish .
Palatability and nutritional value: Big game, American beavers, and livestock find shining willow moderately to highly palatable . Its palatability is rated poor for cattle and horses and fair to good for mule deer, domestic sheep, and domestic goats . No information was found on the nutritional value of shining willow.VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
|Appendix: Common and scientific names of plants mentioned in this review. Follow the links to FEIS Species Reviews.|
|field horsetail||Equisetum arvense|
|scouringrush horsetail||Equisetum hyemale|
|dwarf fireweed||Epilobium latifolium|
|Columbian monkshood||Aconitum columbianum|
|mountain clover||Trifolium monantum|
|Pacific onion||Allium validum|
|stinging nettle||Urtica dioica|
|Baltic rush||Juncus arcticus var. balticus|
|blue wildrye||Elymus glaucus|
|creeping bentgrass||Agrostis stolonifera|
|fowl mannagrass||Glyceria striata|
|Kentucky bluegrass||Poa pratensis|
|Nebraska sedge||Carex nebraskensis|
|reed canarygrass||Phalaris arundinacea|
|tickle grass||Agrostis scabra|
|smoothstem sedge||Carex laeviculmis|
|swollen beaked sedge||Carex rostrata|
|tufted hairgrass||Deschampsia cespitosa|
|Booth's willow||Salix boothii|
|blueberry willow||Salix myrtillifolia|
|blue-stem willow||Salix irrorata|
|bristly black currant||Ribes lacustre|
|Drummond's willow||Salix drummondiana|
|firmleaf willow||Salix novae-angliae|
|Geyer's willow||Salix geyeriana|
|MacKenzie's willow||Salix prolixa|
|mountain big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata subsp. vaseyana|
|narrowleaf willow||Salix exigua|
|red-osier dogwood||Cornus sericea|
|sandbar willow||Salix interior|
|Sierra willow||Salix eastwoodiae|
|small-fruit willow||Salix brachycarpa|
|wax currant||Ribes cereum|
|Wood's rose||Rosa woodsii|
|Wyoming big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata subsp. wyomingensis|
|California wild grape||Vitis californica|
|Pacific poison-oak||Toxicodendron diversilobum|
|Alaska willow||Salix alaxensis|
|Arizona alder||Alnus oblongifolia|
|Arizona walnut||Juglans major|
|balsam poplar||Populus balsamifera subsp. balsamifera|
|bigleaf maple||Acer macrophyllum|
|bigtooth maple||Acer grandidentatum|
|black cottonwood||Populus balsamifera subsp. trichocarpa|
|California sycamore||Platanus racemosa|
|Engelmann spruce||Picea engelmannii|
|Fremont cottonwood||Populus fremontii|
|green ash||Fraxinus pennsylvanica|
|interior ponderosa pine||Pinus ponderosa var. scopularum|
|Jeffrey pine||Pinus jeffreyi|
|narrowleaf cottonwood||Populus angusitifolia|
|netleaf hackberry||Celtis laevigata var. reticulata|
|Oregon ash||Fraxinus latifolia|
|peachleaf willow||Salix amygdaloides|
|quaking aspen||Populus tremuloides|
|red alder||Alnus rubra|
|red maple||Acer rubrum|
|red willow||Salix laevigata|
|Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca|
|Scouler's willow||Salix scouleriana|
|singleleaf pinyon||Pinus monophylla|
|subalpine fir||Abies lasiocarpa|
|thinleaf alder||Alnus incana subsp. tenuifolia|
|Utah juniper||Juniperus osteosperma|
|valley oak||Quercus lobata|
|water birch||Betula occidentalis|
|western hemlock||Tsuga heterophylla|
|western redcedar||Thuja plicata|
|white alder||Alnus rhombifolia|
|white fir||Abies concolor|
|yellow willow||Salix lutea|
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