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The Gift Of Pussy Willows

(credit:  Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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Philadelphia (CBS) – Fluffy as a baby bunny – you know these soft catkins as pussy willows – they’re the flower clusters that bloom on bare branches. While many willows have these fuzzy flowers, our native pussy willow, Salix discolor, provides very early pollen for bees, while cardinals, finches other songbirds like to nibble on the flowerheads too. Then, when it leafs out, lots of butterflies are welcomed to make a home for their babies. Overtime, the shrub forms a thicket, inviting all kinds of birds to come nest in its cover.

A few branches in a vase make a nice, no-fuss centerpiece, looking like little cottontails. Or if you’re bringing a plant to your holiday hosts this week, how about a native pussy willow that can be planted outside later, to be enjoyed by kids and grown-ups – plus so many birds, bees, and butterflies – for decades to come.

Reported By Phran Novelli, KYW Newsradio

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