W is for Willow

Both willow, Salix species,  shrubs and willow trees grow throughout North America.

The pussy willow ‘flowers’, really a form of catkins, provide a much needed source of pollen for bees in the spring. Pollen is what bees use to make beebread and feed their new brood. We have photos of willow catkins with pollen…somewhere! We can’t lay our paws on them now, but here’s one before the flowering parts burst from their protective coating of fur–that is actually a fuzzy bud covering that protects the early catkins form freezing!

Willows will tolerate sunny to shady locations and prefer wet soils, but will grow in average, not dry soil. They bloom in early spring. You will need to check the individual species for heights!


Purchase plants and seeds from a known source that does not use pesticides / insecticides, particularly neonicotinoids. They are not safe for honeybees and native bees. Watch this bee researcher’s Ted Talk to learn more about bees, why they are dying and how you can help:

Marla Spivak: Why Bees Are Disappearing


3 thoughts on “W is for Willow

  1. Now this is a Genus I have seen… My city Pune in India has very very few Salix tetrasperma along the river and efforts are said to be on to plant more.. The tree in bloom is spectacular and a buzzing with bees!

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