The Pussy Willow

Hailing from the species of genus Salix and characterized by their young furry catkins that sprout in the early spring, the male pussy willow is known more prominently for its colorful leaves and fast growth rate array of use for decoration. This colorful species can be grown as a small oval-shaped tree or a large bush. It is commonly known to grow in easily crumbled and acidic soil consisting of silt, sand, and clay in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Texas. It is one of three distinct willows: the goat willow located in the northern parts of Europe and West Asia, and the grey willow, which can also be found in northern Europe. The plant is culturally and aesthetically renowned for its ability to captivate landscapes with its poignant beauty and grace. It can be a decorative means for a front lawn or kept in a waterless vase on display in your home. The soft gray-colored furry buds bellowing from the long soft-wooded stems have an appearance not dissimilar to that of tiny kittens or “pussies”, hence offering the inception of its fitting name. These sprouting buds never fail to captivate any viewing patron with their radiant elegance. Growing at an overwhelmingly fast rate, the pussy willow has been recorded to increase in height at approximately twenty-four inches/ two feet each year. When it has reached its fullest potential in maturity, the plant will have grown to at least fifteen to twenty-five feet in height and twelve to twenty-five feet in width. The fluffy catkins sprouting from the stem reach one to two inches in length, primarily around March or the beginning of the spring, and in their full maturity, they become radiant leaves and flowers. Because of their early emergence, while other plants remain dormant during this time of the year, they are often regarded as the first and most pleasant sign that springtime is well underway. Due to the species’ innate sense of self-preservation, the pussy willow only requires four hours of direct sunlight. Otherwise, peacefully existing in the tranquility of natural and partial shade. Because the pussy willow enjoys moisture, it is highly recommended to plant these extraordinary shrubberies near ponds, lakes, streams, rain gardens, etc., as this will combat excessive soil erosion and effectively keep the willow in top shape to wow viewers at the astounding sight. Pussy willows are also quite effective at attracting wildlife to the scenery of your landscape as many outdoor creatures nest and dine on the catkins and the twigs and buds the willow produces. The specimen also provides exceptional accentuation and height when placed in outdoor pots to compliment the other natural spring flowers. Pussy willows come in a variety of assorted sizes and colors. They can range from enormous twenty-foot Salix Chaenomeles with dark red buds and light mahogany branches to the six by eight-foot Salix Integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ with green and pink variations that would fascinate the most unenthusiastic of nature lovers.

In many cases, the pussy willow is also integral in celebrating holidays and cultural traditions. Countless Americans and Europeans utilize the plant to celebrate Palm Sunday replacing the palm branches, which do not usually sprout this far up north. Likewise, in China, pussy willows are an integral aspect of the Chinese New Year. The miraculous change of color resulting from the maturity of young blossoms to developed flowers often symbolizes the coming of a prosperous time. It is sold far more frequently than in any other country and can be found in standard Chinese and universal establishments such as wet market vendors or the standard supermarket. In all of its awesome grandeur, the pussy willow is a universal fortune that earns the right to be deemed the proper recipient for your landscaping endeavors.

Tn Nursery

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Tammy Sons

Tammy Sons

Tammy enjoys writing about horticulture, life off the grid, and anything outdoors. Loves junk stores, antiques, and spending time with family. CEO of TN Nursery