Salix arbuscula

Common Name: mountain willow 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Salicaceae
Native Range: Scotland, Scandinavia, northern Russia
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Greenish (red anthers)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut


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

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salix arbuscula, commonly called mountain willow, is native to moist, calcareous soils in rocky alpine slopes, meadows and grasslands in Scotland, Scandinavia and Russia. In its native habitat, it is a dense, deciduous shrub which assumes two different forms: (a) at lower alpine elevations, it typically grows 3-6' tall with an upright form, but (b) at higher alpine elevations, it typically grows only 12-20" tall with a low, prostrate form. Nurseries typically sell the prostrate, high alpine form as a rock garden plant. Elliptic to lance-shaped, glossy green leaves (2-4" long) have a bluish-green cast beneath. Grayish-green catkins (to 1 inch long) with reddish anthers bloom in May, but are not particularly showy.

Genus name is the Latin name for this plant.

Specific epithet means resembling a small tree.


Salix arbuscula has not been extensively grown the St. Louis area, and it is not yet clear how this European 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.


Small shrub for rock gardens. May be difficult to find in commerce.