Salix myricoides

myricoides = myrica like

Bayberry or Blueleaf Willow

Formerly known as S. glaucophylla (blue-leaf), the Bayberry Willow has been recorded to grow to a height of 18ft, but rarely exceeds 5ft in New England. Native to eastern Canada, Maine, around the Great Lakes and James Bay, this is one tough shrub. In the wild it sometimes hybridizes with other native species such as S. bebbiana and S. discolor. Our stock originated in Wisconsin via Forest Farm Nursery and for us it is a well-behaved compact shrub with single or few stems. The young twigs are typically reddish-brown, but has been found with yellow-green variants, ours are the former. The handsome shiny, relatively thick leaves are its best feature and appear densely on the stems; in cultivation they grow to 5in long by 2in wide. The undersides are densely glaucous and appear almost white. When the wind blows (as it usually does on our ridge) the undersides of the leaves flash like summer snowbirds. Our plants are a female selection with catkins that are attractive and abundant. After a several year search we located a male form of the species through the kindess of the great staff at the very special Morton Arboretum in Chicago in 2016. We always like to compare the catkins (often males are showier than the females, especially when pollen is evident). Catkins appear before or as the leaves are opening. Hardy to USDA Zone 2?

USES: a fine shrub for the average garden with attractive foliage and a compact habit.

For a detailed botanical description of this species description please check out the following article by Arthur Haines for the New England Wild Flower Society, but please come back!



A young plant by a path in the superb

Kouchibouguac National Park, Gaspé Peninsula, QUE

Catkins appear in March for us.

This internet photo shows leaves with much whiter undersides than my plant.

Possibly a hybrid with Salix discolor.



Present in County

Present in State

Present but rare

Distribution of Salix myricoides in the US

Map used by permission of Dr John Kartesz & BONAP


Female catkins bursting out of their dark shiny-brown bud scales in late-April, fully ripe in early-May.

Female catkin at left is at its ripest for pollenation, our original stock plant center, masses of ripe female catkins at right. Early May.

upper: Early August photo of the leaves in full growth.

lower: early November and the leaves are still green and  flower buds that started red are now turning dark-brown.

Easy to see why this was once called Salix glaucophylloides

glauca = glaucous

(covered with a greyish, bluish, or whitish waxy coating or bloom that is easily rubbed off)

phylloides = leaves


of Michael Dodge