Salix humilis is a shrub to 3 m tall, colonial; twigs yellowish to brown, hairy, stipules narrow.
Leaves alternate, narrow, widest above middle, to 10 cm long, 2 cm wide, tip pointed, margin entire to wavy, slightly turned under, dark green above, often finely hairy, waxy-pale below, gray-hairy (when young), wrinkled, leaf stalk to 0.7 cm.
Flowers dioecious in catkins, on wand-like branches, 2-4 cm, scales blackish, hairy, blooms before leaf-out, Mar.-April.
Fruit dry capsules to 1 cm long, gray-hairy.
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Open areas, soil pH 5.9-7 (USDA, NRCS 2010). Tolerant of flooding, drought, salt, soil compaction. Very intolerant of shade (Hightshoe 1988).