Salix lapponum

Common Name: downy willow 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Salicaceae
Native Range: Northern Europe to northern Asia
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Yellow to red anthers
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut


Best grown in sandy or rocky, medium moisture soils in full sun to light shade. Tolerates poor soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salix lapponum, commonly known as downy willow or Lapland willow, is native to alpine areas in Europe and Asia including Scandinavian areas within the Arctic circle. It is a densely-branched, deciduous shrub which typically grows to 5' tall. Elliptic-oblong to lance-shaped leaves (to 2" long) are downy olive green above and woolly gray green beneath. Silvery catkins with yellow to red anthers appear in spring just before or as the leaves emerge.

Genus name is the Latin name for this plant.

Specific epithet means of Lapland, northern Scandinavia.


Salix lapponum has not been extensively grown in the St. Louis area, and it is not yet clear how this alpine shrub will adapt to the St. Louis climate. Willows are generally susceptible to a number of disease problems including cankers, blights, galls, leaf spots, powdery mildew and rust. Potential insect pests generally include borers, caterpillars and scale.


Rock gardens. Slopes. Shrub borders. May be difficult to find in commerce.