Pussy Willow

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Goat Willow

This week’s photo challenge is entitled, Awakening.

This week, show us an image of an awakening. For nature-lovers, there are few things more wonderful than the awakening of life after a cold, gray winter. Spring is a glorious green renewal. Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere are headed into autumn, and your environment is preparing for a winter rest. Your interpretation doesn’t have to be botanical in nature. I’m eager to see what you all share.

Regrowth Following A Cold Winter

Nature is pretty awesome. Regrowth occurs due to a natural resilience to the ravages of time. For example, the worlds oldest (known) tree is the Bristlecone Pine, which can be found in the White Mountains of California. Researchers at the Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research Group have found a tree which is 5,064 years old.

A colony of 47,000 quaking aspen trees in the Fishlake National Forest of the United States, has been estimated to be 80,000 years old, due to cloning. Wow!

The Goat Willow

This week, I’m sharing with you a photo of a Goat Willow, awakening from its slumber, following a harsh winter. While not as impressive as the Bristlecone Pine, or the aspen trees, the Willow also has longevity.

Willow are sometimes referred to as ‘sallows’. Goat willow is known as ‘great sallow’ and grey willow as ‘common sallow’. Both species are also sometimes called ‘pussy willow’ after the silky grey male flowers, which resemble a cat’s paws.

Mature trees grow to 10m and can live for 300 years. The bark is grey-brown and develops diamond-shaped fissures with age. Twigs are hairy at first but become smooth, and can appear red-yellow in sunlight.

Leaves: unlike most willows, the leaves are oval rather than long and thin. They are hairless above, but with a felty coating of fine grey hairs underneath, and have a pointed tip which bends to one side.

Flowers: goat willow is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers grow on separate trees, in early spring. Male catkins are grey, stout and oval, which become yellow when ripe with pollen. Female catkins are longer and green.

Fruits: once pollinated by wind, female catkins develop into woolly seeds. Most willows can also propagate themselves by lowering their branches to the ground, which then develop roots.

Look out for: the tips of the leaves often appear bent to one side and are densely hairy below and slightly hairy above. Catkins appear before the leaves.

If every day is an awakening, you will never grow old. You will just keep growing – Gail Sheehy


Join in the fun, as I try to improve my photography. Share your photos for this challenge via the comments section. Comments are closed after 14 days.

I’ll be using my DSLR at times, but mostly my mobile phone – an expensive camera isn’t required for this challenge.. It’s all about how you interpret the subject.

  • This weeks challenge was shot on my Mobile Phone.
  • Give me a follow on Instagram, for daily photographs of my local area.

Pussy Willow Photo Challenge

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