Salix sericea is a shrub to 4 m tall, twigs brittle at base, brown, slender, young twigs densely hairy, nodes remaining hairy; stipules narrow to 1 cm.
Leaves alternate, to 10 cm long, 5 cm wide, tip long-pointed, base wedge-shaped, margin closely glandular-toothed, dark green, hairy above, waxy-pale, finely hairy below.
Flowers with sexes on separate plants (dioecious), in catkins to 4 cm long, scales 0.1 cm, blackish, hairy, stamens 2, blooming before leaf-out.
Fruit a capsule, to 0.5 cm, seeds plumed, wind dispersed.
Wetland status: OBL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Wet open soil in rocky areas, stream margins, soil pH 5.2-7 (USDA, NRCS 2010).