Pussy Willow


Salix cinerea



  • All willows, except Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) and two hybrid Pussy Willows (S. x reichardtii and S. x calodendron), are declared noxious in NSW. Black Willow (Salix nigra) is also a significant problem in the Mountains.
  • Pussy Willow is a large deciduous spreading, many-stemmed shrub to small tree from Europe.
  • The noxious Pussy Willow can be distinguished from the hybrids by examining peeled stems, which show prominent ridges.
  • The leaves are broad and widest beyond the middle; the edges may be wavy; leaves are not glossy, and they are flatter than the leaves of the hybrid Pussy Willows.
  • 'Catkins' are produced in mid spring; the catkins on male trees are yellowish with pollen, the females are grey-green.
  • 'Fluff' from female trees, late spring, contains tiny seeds.


Seeds travel easily on wind and water for many kilometres.

Impact on Bushland

Willow are highly invasive fast-growing weeds of streams, swamps and moist forest, shading the water, dropping their leaves, causing bank erosion, and leading to the destruction of natural ecosystems.


Upper Blue Mountains.

Alternative Planting

Native Plants
Replace with evergreen local native creekline vegetation eg
Black Wattle (Callicoma serratifolia) 6m
Water Gum (Tristaniopsis laurina) 8m
local native tea trees
(Leptospermum species)
local native sedges, eg Saw Sedge
(Gahnia sieberiana)


Inject or scrape and paint, according to size.
Do not leave woody material on the ground as it will shoot; do not compost or use as mulch.
Hand pull seedlings from moist soil.
If removing these trees from waterways or very steep land, advice must be sought from BMCC Environmental Management Section.

Pussy Willow is a Class 3 Noxious Weed.

Class 3 noxious weeds are plants that pose a serious threat to primary production or the environment of an area to which the order applies, are not widely distributed in the area and are likely to spread in the area or to another area.

Control objective
Reduce the area and the impact of those plants in parts of NSW.

Control action
The plant must be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.

— NSW Noxious Weeds Act of 1993

Picture of Pussy Willow
Willows infest streams, swamps and moist forest, causing massive environmental damage.
photo: © Barbara Harley

 Pussy Willow (Grey Sallow) follows drainage lines.

Pussy Willow (Grey Sallow) follows drainage lines.
photo: © Barbara Harley

 Pussy Willow leaves

Pussy Willow leaves
photo: © Barbara Harley

 Pussy Willow catkins on male tree are yellow with pollen.

Pussy Willow catkins on male tree are yellow with pollen.
photo: © Barbara Harley