Salix caprea Select
caprea = goat
Pussy Willow, Goat Willow or Big Momma Willow
This selection was supplied to us by Larry Smart of Cornell University and features stems that produce an extraordinary abundance of male flowers per stem (I counted 85 catkins on one stem in April 2, 2017), making it a wonderful cut stem producer! It was developed for the cut stem industry (I'd like to know by whom). It makes so many flowers that there aren't many cuttings available on each stem, as the stems in the area of flower buds don't always have vegetative buds. It is much hairier than the species so naturally we wonder what the female parent had been up to? Perhaps a cross with Salix cinerea? It is a non-fussy plant that will grow just about anywhere that is moist, not wet. Must be in full sun to produce the most flowers! Hardy to Zone 3.
USES: ornamental shrub, coppice regularly to keep a steady supply of young shoots that provide the most flowers; bring cut stems indoors for early bouquets
The trial field of Cornell University's biofuel breeding program with Larry Smart on a rainy late March day. Their rows are spaced far apart to enable mechanical cultivation and harvesting!
The Wonderful World of Willows
Vermont Willow Nursery
$14.50 per bundle of 5
Typical shoots of Goat Willow; densely hairy, crinkled leaves and wavy edges. Late October
Densely hairy stems and flower buds with the classic shape of Salix caprea. Late October
Details of the stems, flower buds and small stipules at the base of some leaf petioles.
Salix caprea opens its flower buds by splitting the scales down the middle.
These are some of our plants in the nursery; 8ft tall and covered in flowers.
April 10, and still some lingering snow!
Catkins are a poppin' out of their bud scales.
Densely hairy stems and catkins with the classic shape of Salix caprea. Late October
Catkins at all the stages of development: from tight buds, just opening with a burst of silver hairs, stamens that are bright pinky-orange and finally the pollen explodes in a burst of yellow. Mid-April.
The pink stage in Mid-April
The orange stage in Mid-April
The golden-yellow stage in all its glory in Mid-April. Bees will find the pollen in the next day or two.
left: Here is something different: three catkins in a group. This willow just wants to produce as many catkins as possible, so it adds a couple of extra ones below the main catkin. I have only seen this occur on one or two other species and they are native species on our property.