Winter Shrub ID: Pussy Willow

Photo of Pussy Willow spring twig

Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) – a fast-growing, clumping shrub of northeast wetlands – pops out on the landscape as winter fades into spring. Soft and fuzzy white catkins emerge along twigs and give this shrub an attractive appearance. I encourage you to treat yourself to this unfolding beauty by finding a Pussy Willow near you and visiting it often over the next few weeks. Doing so will allow you to witness the subtle progression from buds to bloom to fluffy fruit. Prior to the emergence of catkins, you can identify willows by examining their buds, which are each covered with a single cap-like scale (note: many of the scales pictured have partially split during opening).

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