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Common Name:

Pussy Willow

Scientific Name:

Salix discolor

Family Name:



Pussy Willow is a coarse textured upright oval introduced medium shrub to small tree. The primary asset are the large fuzzy breaking buds in the very early spring. Although it will grow on a variety of sites, it is poorly adapted to our region and tends to be a rather short-lived plant over much of its useful range.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Green, not ornamental

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Small capsules, not ornamental


8 ft to 12 ft (15 ft)


6 ft to 10 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Low Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: High Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Trees grown in USDA zone 8 often receive inaddequate chilling and budbreak may be asynchronous; plants are prone to a host of disease and pest problems; canker diseases can be particularly troublesome.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.