Pussy willow

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A pussy willow with catkins.

Pussy willow is a name given to many of the smaller species of the genus Salix (willows and sallows) when their furry catkins are young in early spring. These species include (among many others):

  • Goat willow or goat sallow (Salix caprea), a small tree native to northern Europe and northwest Asia.
  • Grey willow or grey sallow (Salix cinerea), a small tree native to northern Europe
  • American pussy willow (Salix discolor), native to northern North America.

Before the male catkins of these species come into full flower they are covered in fine, greyish fur, leading to a fancied likeness to tiny cats, also known as "pussies". The catkins appear long before the leaves, and are one of the earliest signs of spring. At other times of year trees of most of these species are usually known by their ordinary names.

Pussy willow rods are often cut and used for Easter or springtime decorations.

Pussy willows and spanking[edit]

The catkins give pussy willows a reputation of being soft, however pussy willow rods are comparatively stiff (much more than weeping willows). Such a stick (when without the catkins, e.g. cut in winter, or after stripping off the catkins, or in summer/autumn after stripping off the leaves) can make a switch suitable for spanking.

In Latvia there is a folkloristic spanking tradition on Palm Sunday (called Pūpolsvētdiena, Pussy Willow Sunday) morning. Children and women are awoken by being playfully spanked with switches of pussy willow, with the exclamation, "Apaļš kā pūpols, apaļš kā pūpols, apaļš kā pūpols!" ("Round like (the catkins of) a pussy willow!") or "Apaļš kā pūpols, vesels kā pūpols!" - "Round like Pussy willow, healthy like Pussy Willow!"

See also[edit]


Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Pussy willow. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Spanking Art, the text of Wikipedia is available under a copyleft license, the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.
Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Latvian_mythology. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Spanking Art, the text of Wikipedia is available under a copyleft license, the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.