Riparian Plants: Arroyo Willow - Salix lasiolepis
Arroyo willow grows most frequently in mixed riparian forests and in willow scrub communities close to the river channel. Arroyo willow roots must access the water table. These willows can also recover from moderate periods of drought. They grow most competitively on low to moderate elevation floodplains in loamy soils.
The growth form of arroyo willows can vary from shrub to tree, depending on water availability and the amount of canopy cover. Arroyo willow may be more tree like under high cover to access sunlight, and grow in a more lateral shrub form under less cover (Beedle et al. 2002). Arroyo willow can reach up to 9 meters. They typically are multiple stemmed however, and often one or more large stems will droop to the ground and grow laterally.
Arroyo willow is primarily insect pollinated and the leaves are frequently consumed by insects in early spring. As a result they are good sources of insects for birds. The lateral branching creates cover and nesting structure for wildlife.
For more information about the ecological tolerances and structure of riparian plants, see Gaines 1977, Conard and others 1977, Holstein 1984, Sacchi and Price 1988, Faber and Holland 1996, Cooper and others 1999, Vaghti 2003, Fremier and Talley 2009, and Vaghti and others 2009.
Arroyo Willow dimensions
Lateral branching in Arroyo Willow