Wild Weeds
Pussy Willow

      Salix discolor is commonly known as pussy willow, especially during the spring when it produces catkins. During their early stages of development, male catkins look like little cats. In the days of yore the primary meaning of the word pussy was synonymous with cat. While the native range of Salix discolor spreads across Canada and the northeastern states of the USA, the species of willow most prevalent in the southerwestern states of the USA is Salix exigua, otherwise known as sandbar willow, narrowleaf willow, or coyote willow. It produces catkins which are similar to those of Salix discolor and so the name pussy willow could reasonably be extended to it also. The willows shown in this video are all Salix exigua growing in the southern Sierra Nevada range.

Salix exigua Plant Information Page


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Pussy willow along the creek
Fuzzy catkins grow
Blowing gently in the breeze
Above the melting snow

Their presence signals spring is here
At the end of winter they appear
Furry little paws protrude from branches
This time every year

Word sanitizers would like to ban
Pussy from the lexicon
They scold and lecture endlessly
Nonsense on and on

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