Salix exigua Nutt.
=Salix hindsiana var. leucodendroides
Salicaceae (Willow Family)
Erect shrub or small tree, 2-7 m. high, with gray furrowed bark; clonal
by root sproutings; young twigs gray-tomentose; lvs. linear to lance-linear,
tapering at both ends, remotely denticulate, gray silky-villous to subtomentose,
50-124 mm. long; petioles 1-3 mm. long, not glandular; stipules wanting or
small, to arcuate-lanceolate and 8 mm. long on sucker shoots; catkins appearing
after the lvs., 2-4 cm. long, on leafy peduncles; stamens 2, with pubescent
fils.; scales villous; caps. subsessile, 5-6 mm. long, villous-tomentose; style
ca. 0.5 mm. long; stigmas 1 mm. long.
Common along ditches, sand bars, etc., below 3000 ft.; many cismontane
Plant Communities; San Diego to Ventura cos. and to cent. Calif.
Salix, the classical name of willow.
(Bailey 318). Hindsiana
may be after some person? Greek, leukos,
white and Greek, dendron, tree. (Jaeger
78,140). The foliage appears
grayish green due to the silky pubescence.
Latin, exiguus, short, small. (Jaeger
Occasional in the study area with a single colony in each of the
following locations: Along the
Delhi Ditch; on an alluvial sand bar on the path between Delhi and 23rd St; in
the Santa Ana Heights area below the horse and bike path and at Eastbluff North.
Photographed in the first two locations. (my
comments). The largest and most complex
architectural achievements of the Calif. Indians were by the Kuksu cult which
used "round houses" for their ceremonies.
These were performed by spectacularly costumed dancers.
The Maidu, Paturn, Pomo and other neighboring tribes shared in the cult.
The purpose of the cult appears to have been to renew the world each year
and guarantee the continuance of the natural foods (animals and plants) that
supported men. The roundhouses
varied in size but the large ones were 50-60 ft. in diameter, round in ground
plan and partly underground. Four
or six oak center posts, about 1 ft. in diameter were set up.
Oak stringers were laid horizontally on the center posts.
Radiating out to the edge of the pit were heavy rafters of cottonwood, Populus
fremontii, and willow, Salix spp. on which were laid a thatch of
cottonwood boughs, willow branches, grass and then an earth covering.
The stringers and rafters were tied together with flexible grapevines, Vitis
californica, which tightened as they dried.
(Heizer and Elsasser 38,40).
Interviews with North Fork Mono, Chukchansi Yokuts, Central and Southern
Miwok individuals reveal that the severe pruning (coppicing) of plants is still
conducted today. The technique is
mainly applied to shrubs for the collection of branches for basketry materials.
Some of the species still coppiced include: redbud (Cercis
occidentalis), deerbrush (Ceanothus integerrimus), sourberry (Rhus
tribolata), red willow (Salix melanopsis), and sandbar
willow (Salix hindsiana). Each
of these plants responds to pruning by vigorously sprouting new shoots from dormant or adventitious
buds. The result is increased
numbers of long, straight, slender switches with inconspicuous leaf scars, and
no lateral branching. These are the
characteristics most valued by basketmakers.
This contrasts with a wild shrub which has mottled, cracked bark and
twisted branches that are forked and often brittle. (Anderson, M. Kat. "California
Indian Horticulture." Fremontia, A Journal of the California Native Plant
Society. Vol. 18 No. 2. April
1990 pp. 7-14). The values of Willow lie in the glycosides
salicin and populin, as well as the ever present tannin.
Its uses are many, but most specifically in the reduction of
inflammations of joints and membranes. Useful
for headache, fevers, neuralgia, and hay fever.
Most of our plants are not particularly potent and a fair amount of bark
or stem is needed. Up to an ounce a
day can be consumed in tea if needed. (Moore, Medicinal Plants of the
Mountain West 161).
S. exigua was used by Indians to make animal figurines used in
hunting rituals. (Campbell 346). A genus of 300 or more spp.,
mostly temp. and colder. (Munz, Flora
So. Calif. 773).
Plants with spreading hairs on leaves and twigs, slender stigmas 0.6-1
mm., and +/- entire leaves from throughout California have been called S.
hindsiana; these features vary independently; the type of S. hindsiana
does not share them all. Such forms may be derived from S. exigua x S.
sessilifolia; further study is needed.
(Hickman, Ed. 997).
S. hindsiana var. leucodendroides indistinct from S. exigua.
(Hickman, Ed. 1353).
See S. discolor, S. gooddingii, S. discolor, the Pussy
Willow and S. lasiolepis for more information on willow uses.
Hickman, Ed. 997; Mason 402; Munz, Calif. Flora 913; Munz, Flora
So. Calif. 774.
Feb 3 84 # 13,14; April 1 84 # 20; April 04 # 11A.
Identity: by R. De Ruff, confirmed by F. Roberts.
First Found: February 1984.
Computer Ref: Plant Data 272
Have plant specimen.
Last edit 10/27/04.
February Photo February Photo