I went for a walk at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum looking for a hint of spring. And I found all the willows covered with catkins.
The goat willow (Salix Caprea), frequently referred to as the pussy willow, is a common tree species. It is a wetlands plant in the wild, and if not pruned, it will grow up to 20 feet tall. Catkins are a true harbinger of spring, and it is tradition at my home to bring a few branches of pussy willows into the house as spring’s first bouquet.
The Dappled Willow (Salix Integra) is also known as The Japanese Willow or ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ and is one of the smaller willows, often grown as a shrub or small tree. The catkins appear in early spring just before the leaves unfurl. Willows are one of the earliest trees to leaf out, often as much as 4 weeks before other trees.