Pussy Willow (Salix caprea)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Pussy Willow
Give a thumbs up Weeping Pussywillow
Give a thumbs up Goat Willow
Give a thumbs up Kilmarnock Willow
Give a thumbs up French Pussywillow

Botanical names:
Salix caprea Accepted
Salix caprea f. elongata Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Soil pH Preferences: Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 7b
Plant Height: 15-30 feet
Plant Spread: 10- 20 feet - Habit is variable, but generally broad spreading; about 3/4 wide as it is tall.
Leaves: Deciduous
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Other: Grayish-pink to silvery, and about an inch in length.
Flower Time: Late winter or early spring
Uses: Provides winter interest
Erosion control
Flowering Tree
Cut Flower
Dynamic Accumulator: Mg (Magnesium)
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Other: Cuttings root easily and quickly in water; especially so if cut before leaves appear.
Pollinators: Bees
Miscellaneous: Dioecious

Image

Photo gallery:
Location: Ghent, BelgiumDate: 2016-03-12Male catkins
By bonitin
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Location: Ghent, BelgiumDate: 2016-03-15Male flowers
By bonitin
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Location: central IllinoisDate: 2016-03-22
By jmorth
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2012-03-07Close-up of buds - late winter, early spring
By chelle
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Location: Newtown Square, PennsylvaniaDate: 2011-04-15large specimen in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Newtown Square, PennsylvaniaDate: 2011-04-15blooms from afar
By ILPARW
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Location: Newtown Square, PennsylvaniaDate: 2011-04-15trunk and bark
By ILPARW
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2011-10-22
By chelle
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2012-03-07Section of stem with buds - late winter, early spring
By chelle
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2012-03-07Branches in bud - lare winter, early spring
By chelle
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2012-03-17Bloom - male plant
By chelle
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Location: Northeastern IndianaDate: 2012-03-19Female plant in full bloom
By chelle
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Location: Northeastern IndianaDate: 2012-03-19Close up of bloom - female
By chelle
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This plant is tagged in:
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Comments:
Posted by chelle (N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b) on Jan 17, 2012 2:16 PM

Catkin covered branches clipped from Salix caprea (French pussy willow), as well as S. matsudana 'Tortuosa' (corkscrew willow) can be utilized effectively in decorative floral arrangements. Seasonal shaping or rejuvenation of an overgrown pussy willow should be undertaken as soon as the vitality of the catkins decline. Shrubs in moisture retentive soil can easily accept a hard pruning of up to two-thirds of the plant at this time; without sacrificing next years catkin display.

Salix caprea, as well as most varieties of willow, come equipped with invasive root systems, so be sure to plant your shrubs far away from septic tank fields, sewer lines and water lines. A low lying, slow draining problem area in your garden that discourages dry-land plants just might be the ideal spot for your "harbinger of spring".

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Sep 12, 2018 10:29 AM

This Goat Willow or Eurasian Pussy Willow is a well-know woody plant by many, of course native to much of Europe and northern Asia. It is occasionally planted in landscapes and some are offered by many conventional nurseries. The leaves are about 2 to 5 inches long, with irregular teeth, wavy margins, and sort of a wrinkled aspect to the leaf. No real fall color. Like other willows, it is dioecious and there are separate male and female plants. It is only the male form that is used in horticulture in North America because the male form has the showier flowers. Therefore, this large shrub is not going to reproduce by seed in North America. It is fast growing of about 3 to 6 feet/year and lives up to 50 years. It is weak wooded and gets picked on by various cankers and leaf blights. It has a fibrous, shallow root system and is easy to transplant. It is easily propagated by stem cuttings in water or moist medium. (The American Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) is so very similar that differs in having twigs that mature to deep dark brown, has almost black buds, and the underside of the leaves are bluish-white and bloomy, the leaves should not be wrinkled in aspect, and the pussy flowers are slightly smaller.) Pussy or Goat Willow is not considered as an all-around wonderful large shrub for landscapes, but it is valued for its late winter flowers.

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