This harbinger of early spring produces buds that look like fuzzy caterpillars.
The name "pussy willow" is used for willows (usually Salix caprea) that produce a fuzzy bud in late winter or early spring. Appearing on this deciduous shrub's bare branches, the buds are often harvested for the florist trade before they have a chance to expand to their full size (1-1/2 inches).
Pussy willows grow in a variety of soils and prefer full sun. The mature size of Salix caprea is 15 to 25 feet tall and 12 to 15 wide. USDA Zones 4 to 8