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Added: Alixandra Holdsworth - Date: 17.09.2021 08:06 - Views: 37502 - Clicks: 8839

See the seasons change at the Garden! Advance tickets are required. Hide Banner. At the tail end of winter, fuzzy nubs start to appear along the branches of pussy willows. What are those little nubs? Are they seeds? And why are they fuzzy?

They're actually flowers just before they fully bloom. The soft coating of hairs acts as insulation to protect these early bloomers from cold temperatures. The species most commonly called pussy willow in the Northeast, Salix discolor , is a small, shrubby species of willow that can be found dotting wetlands and moist woods throughout much of North America. Even in full bloom, willow flowers hardly look like flowers at all. They have no petals or showy colors.

Nor do they have any fragrance. Such flowers are called catkins, also named for cats, in this case for their tails from the old Dutch word for kitten katteken. Many other trees and shrubs, such as birch and beech, also produce catkins. Instead they simply release it into the wind, where it may or may not land on the female flower parts.

In order to hit their targets, the catkins must produce a tremendous amount of pollen. Wind-pollinated trees like these are the culprits of many a spring sneeze. More: No need to wait for spring. Enjoy these beautiful buds right now. Pussy willows have been cultivated to produce a range of different catkin colors. Over the next few weeks, a parade of these blossoms will be on display at the southern end of BBG—in the Discovery Garden, the newly opened Water Garden, and along the nearby brook.

Look for the fantastical pink pompoms of the Japanese pink pussy willow, the creepy, gothic-looking black pussy willow, and the rose-gold pussy willow, whose blossoms seem to glow. Pussy willows are dioecious, meaning there are both male plants and female plants.

Only male plants produce the fuzzy flowers. Home gardeners may be disappointed if they wind up with a female tree, but the flowers on female plants are equally funky—they just look more like greenish hairy caterpillars. Look for both blooming over the coming season. Most cut pussy willow stems are in a sort of time warp—dried at their peak fuzziness, and never allowed to fully flower. But if you keep fresh-cut pussy willows hydrated, you can see the whole flowering cycle and even the leafing-out process. You can add a little flower food if you have some. Watch for new flower buds to cast off the shiny brown bud scales that surround the flower.

When the flowers mature, you will see scores of yellow stamens emerge to cover each catkin. A tiny clump of pollen stands at each end. Wait even longer, and you may also see pale green, strappy leaves unfurl from the leaf buds. At this point, your willow stems will be in full spring growth and will need to be planted in soil outdoors to root for an extended experiment.

The flexible stems can also be woven into a wreath or recycled in the compost pile. Ashley Gamell is a freelance writer and consultant. If you plant pussy willow, be sure to stay away from your water and sewer pipes. Find that spot in your yard that stays wettest after a good rain. I may be the winner for the longevity of my pussy willows. Mine are in a vase I entered in a flower show when I was in second grade. That would have been the school year! I love to include them in spring arrangements but find them hard to get. Growing up they seemed to be more prevalent but now seem rare.

Why is that? How do you start a plant? Does it grow from seed? Can you purchase one? Does it grow when you just stick it in the ground after it has been cut? What kind of provocation does it take? I love pussy willow but wonder if I can keep it small, more like a shrub?

I love pussy willows! They are one of my very favorites! I too have some in a vase that I have had for over 23 years now! Pussy willows always remind me of my mom! I always get a bunch and dry them out. Got some pussy willow stems. I will keep them in water and when can I plant them in soils. Also, can they be placed in a pot?

I live in Florida, the southern area. Please let me know when I can plant them either pot or land. Willows also rely on insects for pollination. They also provide nectar for the pollinators in the very early spring. Not all catkins are made the same. I recently rooted some pussy willows and wonder if they like sun or shade and how much water do they need? No fuss, no muss…. Love it….. This article was very important to me because I love pussy willows, one of my favorites!

I bought some at the Philadelphia Flower Show on March 2, and my daughter-in-law just gave me some more. It is the middle of March. Is it okay to plant cascading pussy willow in pots? Interesting facts about pussy willows. Never realized that they bloom. However, once dried will last and last and last.

I have had some in a vase for over 40 years. Will definitely make a trip to BBG for viewing. Thanks for the enlightenment. Please keep your comments relevant to this article. Comments are moderated and will be posted after BBG staff review. Salix gracilistyla rose-gold pussy willow in late winter. At this point, the developing flowers are covered with a protective coat of silvery fur. Photo by Elizabeth Peters. Salix discolor pussy willow in bloom in early spring along the border of the Discovery Garden. The petalless male flowers are covered with pollen-bearing stamens.

Photo by Blanca Begert. Salix acutifolia long-leaved willow in the Plant Family Collection. Rose-gold pussy willow Salix gracilistyla shows its bright pollen near the brook at BBG. Photo by Rebecca Bullene. Discussion Steph April 22, If you plant pussy willow, be sure to stay away from your water and sewer pipes.

Rose-Gold Pussy Willow Salix gracilistyla rose-gold pussy willow in late winter. Pussy Willow Salix discolor pussy willow in bloom in early spring along the border of the Discovery Garden. Photo by Willow. Salix gracilistyla Rose-gold pussy willow Salix gracilistyla shows its bright pollen near the brook at BBG.

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What Are Pussy Willows, Anyway?