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Salix cinerea L.
Family Salicaceae
Common name: Pussy Willow, Common Sallow, Grey Willow

Salix cinerea L. APNI*

Description: Shrub or small tree with a rounded or flattened crown, to 10 m high, mostly many-stemmed, sometimes with one trunk; bark dark grey-brown, fissured with age; twigs dark red-brown, densely pubescent at first.

Leaves elliptic to obovate, 2–9 cm long, 10–40 mm wide, grey-green and pubescent above, ash-grey below with hairs; margin undulate serrate; petiole usually < 10 mm long; stipules c. 5 mm long, sometimes persistent.

Catkins male or female, 1.5–3.5 cm long, 1–2 cm wide. Female catkins smaller than male.

Capsule up to 10 mm long.


Distribution and occurrence: naturalised along streams, in swamps and other wetland habitats, often in cooler areas; regenerates readily from seed. Native of Eurasia & N Africa.
NSW subdivisions: *CC, *NT, *CT, *ST
Other Australian states: *Vic. *Tas. *S.A. *W.A.
Declared Noxious Weed
AVH map***

Salix cinerea has been widely misidentified as S. caprea L. Subspecies are sometimes recognised.

Pussy Willow has been cultivated for its decorative branches with their soft 'fluffy' catkins, but it can be a highly invasive weed of wetlands.

Text by S.W.L. Jacobs & L. Murray (2000); updated May 2017
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 1 Suppl. (2000)


APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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