Goat Willow (Salix caprea)
Why Goat Willow? No-one seems quite sure - it's nothing botanical. It might have been grown to feed goats - who knows. It's the odd one out, as Goat Willow (or Pussy Willow, or Great Sallow) doesn't necessarily need wet, although it grows as quickly as our other native willows. Salix caprea is dioecious too - male and female flowers appear on separate trees. As other true willows - as opposed to hybrids - it won't grow from a rod stuck in the ground. The male flowers are in the form of yellow catkins (as pictured), which are an important source of early pollen and nectar for bees in the critical period of early spring.
Value For Wildlife
In the female form Salix caprea has silver catkins, which are also an excellent source of early season nectar. There was a beautiful old Goat Willow tree in our old village that is covered with our bees as soon as it comes into flower. Useful for the church flowers, too. Among its dependent species is the spectacular Purple Emperor, for which it is a foodplant. They seem to be second only to the oaks in terms of dependent species, which include several small mammals.
Plants For Sale
Provenance certificates are available on request for our Goat Willow plants, which are from the Southwest of England.
Suppliers: Perrie Hale Forest Nursery
Your purchase helps us support a range of charities, which are related to the products we sell.
See our planting and size guide for details and tips on planting. These Goat Willow trees are all bare root, and are consequently available for delivery from November until March. During the lifting season there may be up to two weeks delay between placing the order and dispatching, due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders for Goat Willows placed between March and September are confirmed in October ready for dispatch from November.
Time to Ultimate Height
Over 20 years
Clay, loam, sand
Neutral, acid, alkaline
Sheltered or exposed