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Salix discolor

Salix discolor Muhl.

Salix ancorifera Fernald

Salix conformis Forbes

Salix crassa Barratt

Salix discolor Muhl. var. overi C.R. Ball

Salix discolor Muhl. var. prinoides (Pursh) Andersson

Salix discolor Muhl. var. rigidior (Andersson) C.K. Schneid.

Salix fuscata Pursh

Salix prinoides Pursh

Salix sensitiva Barratt

Salix squamata Rydb.

Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMalpighialesA broad group encompassing 16,000 species
FamilySalicaceaeWillow family
GenusSalixLatin for “willow,” meaning “to leap or spring,” a reference to its fast growth
Speciesdiscolor“Of two or different colors”

About plant names...

Pussy willows are North American native plants.

Identification: Pussy willows are highly variable in appearance, in part because they hybridize naturally with related plants. Typically shrubs, they may reach 30' (9.1 m) in height, making them small trees. Young stems are yellowish- to light-green, becoming red or brown when they get larger, and finally gray and furrowed. Their “trunks” may be single or multiply branched. Leaves are alternate, roughly elliptical in shape, with a prominent central vein, 1-5" (3-13 cm) long, 2 to 5 times longer than they are wide. Flowers are beautiful soft silvery-gray ovals, actually types of catkins, typically about 1" (2.5 cm) long, but up to 4½" (12 cm). The male catkins produce, well, zillions of teeny yellow stamens with yellow tips; female catkins are greenish. Fruits are small brown capsules, ¼-⅜" (7-12 mm) long, vaguely banana-shaped, that look like buds.

Online References:

Salix discolor at Illinois Wildflowers

Salix discolor on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Salix discolor at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Salix discolor on eFloras

Salix discolor at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

Male (staminate) flowers. · 9/20/2014 · Mt. Battie, Camden, ME ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

5/4/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 8" (14 × 20 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

3/23/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

5/4/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 8" (14 × 20 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

The cone-like structure on the tip is a gall created by an insect, Rhabdophaga strobiloides · 11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3 × 3½" (7.9 × 8.6 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

3/28/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3 × 4½" (7.9 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

The cone-like structure on the tip is a gall created by an insect, Rhabdophaga strobiloides · 7/9/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

5/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

Male catkins. · 4/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

9/20/2014 · Mt. Battie (Elev. 780'), Camden, ME ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

5/4/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 4½" (10 × 12 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

5/4/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (17 × 26 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

Male (staminate) flowers. · 4/3/2010 · Mt. Battie, Camden, ME
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

5/4/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 6" (14 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

The cone-like structure on the tip is a gall created by an insect, Rhabdophaga strobiloides · 11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 3½" (12 × 9 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

Female catkins. · 4/6/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (14 × 10 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

3/23/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

9/20/2014 · Mt. Battie, Camden, ME ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

The cone-like structure on the tip is a gall created by an insect, Rhabdophaga strobiloides · 11/15/2011 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

Male catkins. · 4/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Salix discolor (Pussy Willows, Pussy Willow, American Willow)

4/24/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 2½ × 3½" (6.6 × 9.8 cm) ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 4-8:

About this map...