sold out

for Spring 2020

Salix irrorata  

irrorata = unwanted!!!  

(some botanists are irrorational)

Bluestem Willow

Native to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Western Texas; this and S. exigua are the only natives of that part of the country that we offer at this time (there's more in the nursery on trial). It is usually found by sunny streams at 5500-9500ft, but is equally at home near sea level in moist soils. The most distinguishing feature is the dark-red stems that are covered in a powdery white covering giving the impression that the stems are blue. It grows 8-10ft tall with very upright branches. Best if coppiced every 1-2 years.

USES: Great in a winter garden, winter containers and winter bouquets. The straight rods can be used for basket making and furniture if dried; also living structures if used fresh.



Female catkins in the nursery.

below: S. irrorata by a roadside in Northern New Mexico.

Salix irrorata in Chimayo, NM. The orange color behind is from the Coyote Willow, Salix exigua, another Southwest species where it is ubiquitous in damp places, along streams and rivers.

New leaves in the nursery;

pink to red at first, eventually turn green.


Present in County

Present in State

Present but rare

  The blue stems of S. irrorata.

Distribution of Salix irrorata in the US

Map used by permission of Dr John Kartesz & BONAP


S. irrorata in the dragons claws at the

Albuquerque Botanical Garden, New Mexico.

Fun for children of all ages.

Vigorous long stems and lots of catkins on plants in the Morton Arboretum, Illinois!

Young male catkins bursting open

in our Santa Fe Condo!

A mature female catkin with fertilized ovaries!

The stems of Bluestem willow are actually red, but are covered with a white "bloom", similar to that found on black grapes.

This makes the stems appear blue. Seen here in Chimayo NM.

Female catkins opening

in Albuquerque NM in early March!

Delicate tones in the new leaves and white stems.

This a striking plant in many seasons.


This amazing plant was shot in Ladakh, Himalayas, where it obviously thrives and has the whitest stems I've ever seen in any willow!

The identity was made by Dr Irina Belyaeva, Salix Taxonomist at RBG Kew.

Photo by Agustin Coello-Vera

Healthy green foliage that is green and shiny above and almost white underneath. Last year's stems are also white.

Photographed in the delightful Yampa River Botanical Park in Steamboat Springs CO, mid June 2016.


of Michael Dodge