Goat Willow

Goat Willow

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.

Dappled Willow

Dappled Willow

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.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. The colors in your catkin photo (the top one) are perfection! Makes me want to be out in the warm spring sunshine.

  2. I really like the unfurling of the dappled willow in the second photo. Nice detail. 🙂

  3. I love the little fuzzy buggers. They appeal to my sense of utility. Seems like there should be a use for the little furred pellets.

    So nice to see spring emerging, however slowly.

  4. Beautiful color and detail Bo, great shots !!

  5. Gandalf says:

    Aren’t these pussy willows?

  6. Are “catkins” the buds of the pussy willow? Catkins is a new term for me, too.

Leave a Reply