The exotic Salix caprea, more commonly known as the ‘Pussy Willow’ tree originates from Europe and is a naturalised species in South Africa.

Reaching a height of between 2 and 7 m, this fast grower is deciduous and has a pretty, oval shape.  The tree is known for its spreading, upright stems, colourful autumn leaves and striking, furry catkins.  The catkins appear in late winter to early spring and stand out on bare stems before leaves appear.  These blooming branches are widely used for decoration.  Unlike most willows, the Pussy willow has oval leaves, instead of long, thin leaves.  The foliage is hairless on top with a beautiful green colour.

Also known as a Goat willow, the tree is hardy and not frost tender.  It is easy to grow in almost any type of soil and will flourish in semi-shade or full sun.  In addition, the tree can tolerate maritime exposure and even atmospheric pollution!

Salix caprea is an ornamental tree, typically planted for the visual interest and beauty it can bring to a garden.  It can be used as a windbreak hedge and will also attract bees to your landscape.