Salix petiolaris – Meadow Willow

Meadow Willow Shrub in the Carp Hills (O. Clarkin).

Meadow Willow is a large shrub, growing upwards of 6 meters in our area in an upright, erect form.  It is common and widespread.  It prefers open marsh habitat, but can also be found growing along wetland edges.  The leaf has a long petiole (stalk), hence its scientific name.

Meadow Willow has the following distinguishing characteristics:

  • The leaves are usually finely toothed, long, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate, tapering to a pointed tip; dark green and dull or lustrous above; glaucous (bluish-white) underneath.
  • It rarely has stipules.
  • Its mature twigs tend to reddish or purplish brown.

Meadow Willow’s leaf shape has some similarity to Black Willow (S. nigra), but it can be distinguished by its lack of stipules compared to Black Willow.  Peachleaf Willow (S. amygdaloides) also has a long petiole, but its leaves taper to a long point and are quite distinctive from Meadow Willow.

Here are selected photographs with location coordinates in iNaturalist: – leaves and twigs east of Ottawa. – young yellow-green growth and reddish-brown mature twigs, shrub form in the Carp Hills.


New growth and leaves in the eastern Greenbelt, no stipules (O. Clarkin).
Purple-brown twigs at eastern Greenbelt (O. Clarkin).