Pussy willow

  • Latin name: Salix discolor Muhl.
  • French name: Saule discolore
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 22524
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf and stipules - pussy willow

Form

  • Oblong to narrowly elliptic
  • Sometimes widest above the middle
  • Tip pointed or blunt, base tapered
  • Raised veins on upper surface
  • Young leaves hairy, becoming hairless; firm
  • Stipules small, much larger on vigorous shoots

Length

  • 3–10 cm

Colour

  • Upper surface bright green
  • Lower surface whitish
  • Young leaves reddish

Margin

  • Toothed, especially above the middle

Buds

Form

  • Flattened, pointed, pressed against the twig, closely spaced
  • Covered with a single scale
  • No true terminal bud; end bud originates as a lateral bud
  • Flower buds larger than leaf buds
  • Leaf scars V-shaped, with 3 vein scars
  • Stipule scars on either side

Length

  • Leaf buds 7 mm
  • Flower buds up to 10 mm

Colour

  • Reddish-purple

Twigs

  • Twig just after bud break - pussy willow

Form

  • Stout, shiny
  • Hairy when young, becoming hairless

Colour

  • Dark reddish-brown
  • Lenticels pale

Flowers

  • Seed catkin - pussy willow
  • Pollen catkin - pussy willow
  • Seed flower - pussy willow
  • Pollen flower - pussy willow

Form

  • Catkins on very short shoots with bract-like leaves
  • Densely covered with silky hairs when immature

Length

  • Pollen catkins 2–4 cm
  • Seed catkins 2–6 cm

Colour

  • Bracts dark brown with white hairs

Structure

  • Dioecious

Floral timing

  • Fully developed before the leaves appear

Fruits

Form

  • Capsules cylindrical, long-beaked, hairy

Length

  • Mature seed catkins up to 9 cm
  • Capsules 7–12 mm

Bark

Colour

  • Greyish-brown, tinged with red

Size

Height

  • To 6 m

Tree form

Open-grown

Crown

  • Branches upright

Habitat

Site

  • Wet meadows, alder swamps and along shorelines
Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Photos
  • Pussy willow
  • Pussy willow
Distribution map
Distribution map - pussy willow
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