Pussy Willows

From as far back as I can remember, every spring I would be thrilled to see the year’s first pussy willows.  Most years they would get picked and sit in a glass in the house.  Pussy Willows belong to the Willow family or Salix family, their proper name being Salix discolor or Salix caprea (their latin name in Europe).  Willows, unlike many other shrubs, do not have both male and female flower parts on one tree, and are male and female individually.   Therefore, when we go pussy willow seeking, we are actually looking for the catkin (flower) of the male tree.  The female catkin has lots of yellow stamen and looks like a pussy willow bud that has been left too long.  Pussy willows are extremely easy to propagate, and can make a nice addition to any wet area in your landscape. From the new wood, take a one foot cutting about as thick as a pencil and either put it in a glass of water to root, or just stick it into moist soil in your yard.  Make sure that your cutting came from a male tree, and not a female or you won’t get pussy willows in the spring. Within a few weeks, new roots will have begun growing, and you will have your own Pussy willow tree!  Willows have so much rooting hormone within them that you can actually take a cutting of your favorite houseplant and put it in the same jar as your willow cutting and it will promote roots on the houseplant also.  If only everything were that easy