Erect habit 30-100cm tall with dark grey brown branches and tomentose young twigs becoming glossy yellow-brown. Leaves oblanceolate 3-8cm long, acute, base tapered, entire, grey-hairy becoming dark glossy green above, petiole short. Catkins on short leafy laterals, cylindrical up to 6cm long, scales yellow-brown with long hairs. Fennoscandia, Iceland, arctic Russia and North America, on stony slopes, stream sides and tundra marshes, to 1760m. In the Alps this species is replaced by the endemic Salix glaucosericea growing on moist slopes, stone falls, moraines and by glacier streams, usually on acid soils. It differs from Salix glauca in having leaves which retain their hairs on both surfaces. The glistening, silvery young leaves emerging from the buds make this a most attractive species. Among the related North American species S. niphoclada forms a compact shrub with smaller silky leaves.