Goat willow

Goat Willow

©Brian Eversham

Goat Willow

©Brian Eversham

Goat willow

Scientific name: Salix caprea
One of our commonest willows, the Goat willow is a small tree that is found in ditches, reedbeds and wet woodland. It is well-known for its silver, fluffy catkins that give it another name, 'Pussy willow'.

Species information


Height: up to 10m

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The Goat willow, also known as the 'Pussy willow', is a small willow tree found in ditches, reedbeds and wet woodland, and on urban waste ground. It is one of the UK's commonest willows and is known for the fluffy, silver-grey, male catkins - or 'pussy willows' - that appear in January and turn bright yellow in March.

How to identify

The Goat willow is a small, scrub-forming tree. It has broad, round leaves, with bent, pointy tips and thick, silky hairs on their undersides. Its male catkins are silver-grey, roundish and turn yellow when ripe; its female catkins are green.



Did you know?

The Goat willow has many common names, including 'Great Sallow', 'Sally' and 'Black Sally'; the name 'Palm willow' refers to its use as a decoration in churches during Easter.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.