Salix caprea

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 Salix caprea subsp. var.  Florist's willow, French or Pink Pussy willow, Goat Willow, Great Sallow
Goat Willow male catkins
Habit: tree
Height: to
Width: to
15ft35ft 10ft20ft
Height: 15 ft to 35 ft
Width: 10 ft to 20 ft
Lifespan: perennial
Exposure: sun
Water: wet, moist
Features: deciduous
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 5 to 10
Sunset Zones: 2-24, 30-41
Flower features:
Salicaceae > Salix caprea var. ,

Salix caprea (Goat Willow, also known as the Pussy Willow or Great Sallow), is a common species of willow native to Europe and western and central Asia.[1]

It is a deciduous shrub or small tree, reaching a height of 6-12 m, rarely to 20 m. The leaves are 3-12 cm long and from 2-8 cm wide, broader than most other willows. The flowers are soft silky, silvery 3-7 cm long catkins, produced in early spring before the new leaves appear; the male and female catkins are on different plants (dioecious). The male catkins mature yellow at pollen release, the female catkins maturing pale green. The fruit is a small capsule 5-10 mm long containing numerous minute seeds embedded in fine cottony hairs. The seeds are very small (about 0.2 mm) with the fine hairs aiding dispersal; they require bare soil to germinate.[1][2]

Salix caprea occurs both in wet environments, such as riverbanks and lake shores, and in drier sites, wherever bare soil becomes available due to ground disturbance.[1]

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Salix caprea. Goat Willow. A small tree, 12-25 ft. high, with upright branches: lvs. large, 2-5 in. long, 1-3 in. wide, rounded or subcordate at base, rugose, very variable: aments appearing before the lvs., large and showy, especially the staminate ones. Eu., Asia.—The typical form often occurs in yards where it has sprouted from the stock upon which the more popular but scarcely more ornamental variety, pendula, has been grafted. Var. pendula, Hort. Kilmarnock Willow. Dwarfed form, grafted on stock about 4 ft. high, and forming a weeping shrub. Often planted in yards. S. multinervis is supposed to be a hybrid, and probably belongs with S. Caprea. S. Caprea var. tricolor, Hort., is said by F. W. Kelsey to be a round-headed tree, with "tricolored foliage;" probably a form of S. aurita. S. palmaefolia, Hort., is said by F. W. Kelsey to be of vigorous growth, with large, deep green lvs. and reddish purple young wood.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



Unlike almost all other willows, pure specimens of Salix caprea do not take root readily from cuttings; if a willow resembling the species does root easily, it is probably a hybrid with another species of willow.[2]

Pests and diseases

The leaves are commonly eaten by browsing mammals. Willows are very susceptible to gall inducers and the midge Rhabdophaga rosaria forms the Camellia gall on S. caprea.[3]


A small number of cultivars have been selected for garden use. The most common is S. caprea 'Kilmarnock', with stiffly pendulous shoots, forming a mop-head; it is a male clone. A similar female clone is S. caprea 'Weeping Sally'. As they do not form a leader, they are grafted on erect stems of other willows; the height of these cultivars is determined by the height at which the graft is made.[2] Plants can also be grown from greenwood cuttings make attractive creeping mounds. Hardwood cuttings are often difficult to root.

There are two varieties:[1]

  • Salix caprea var. caprea. Lowland regions throughout the range. Leaves thinly hairy above, densely hairy below, 5-12 cm long; stipules persistent until autumn.
  • Salix caprea var. sphacelata (Sm.) Wahlenb. (syn. S. caprea var. coaetanea Hartm.; S. coaetanea (Hartm.) Floderus). High altitudes in the mountains of central and northern Europe (Alps, Carpathians, Scotland, Scandinavia). Leaves densely silky-hairy on both sides, 3-7 cm long; stipules early deciduous.

Hybrids with several other willow species are common, notably with Salix cinerea (S. × reichardtii), Salix aurita (S. × multinervis), Salix viminalis (S. × smithiana), and Salix purpurea (S. × sordida). Populations of Salix caprea often show hybrid introgression.[1][2]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Meikle, R. D. (1984). Willows and Poplars of Great Britain and Ireland. BSBI Handbook 4. ISBN 0-901158-07-0.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins. ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
  3. Gall Inducers

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