According to observations of naturalists and beekeepers.
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Shining willow is distributed from Alaska east to Labrador and south to California, Kansas, and North Carolina. It is mostly absent from dry interior regions of the Intermountain West.
Shining willow is a deciduous small tree or tall shrub, occasionally growing up to 40 feet (12 m) tall. It typically has several stems, becoming increasingly shrubby with increasing elevation. The bark is smooth and thin, and the bole and branches are brittle. Twigs are relatively stout. It has lanceolate leaves that are 2 to 5 inches (5-13 cm) long. Shining willow is dioecious, so individual trees bear either pistillate or staminate catkins. The fruit is a hairless capsule, but the seed coat is covered with soft, cottony hairs. The typical variety differs from tail-leaf willow by having glaucous undersides to the leaves.
Shining willow flowers from late March to late June across its range; leaves appear with the catkins. Seeds disperse in late spring to early summer, depending on elevation and latitude. The dispersal period is usually for ≤1 month.