Goat Willow - Salix caprea


Shrub or small tree to 10 metres. Bark coarsely fissured. Leaves oval to oblong with a short pointed tip that often twists around, dark green above, grey beneath, shallowly toothed. Buds often yellowish. Catkins silvery white in bud ("Pussy Willow"), appearing before the leaves, often near the tip of the twig. They are ovoid or shortly cylindrical, erect. Male with long filaments up to 1 cm golden yellow, female with narrow flask shaped ovaries.

Identification difficulty

Hedgerows, rough grassland and damp locations. It tolerates dry conditions better than most other Willows.

When to see it

Catkins March and April.

Life History


UK Status

Common throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 391 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map