According to observations of naturalists and beekeepers.
Where are you?
Pussy willow is common throughout the southern half of Canada and the north-central and northeastern portions of the United States. The westernmost and southernmost distribution of pussy willow in the United States is not entirely clear. There is general agreement that pussy willow occurs from Montana and Wyoming east through Illinois, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
This plant is present in at least 41 states/provinces in this country.
Pussy willow is highly variable in its identifying characteristics. Typically it grows as a shrub or small tree to heights of up to 30 feet (8 m). Willows, in general, grow rapidly and produce extensive root systems. Pussy willow trunks may be single or clustered with stout ascending branches and branchlets. A large trunk circumference of 61.8 inches (157 cm) was reported for a North American pussy willow. The bark is slightly fissured and ridged. First-year pussy willow twigs are hairy but become glabrous with age. Twigs are flexible and average of 1.5 mm in diameter. Large buds (up to 1 cm long) are present and conspicuous along the stems.
Pussy willow leaves are deciduous, simple, and alternate. Leaf shape varies from oblong to elliptic, and blades are typically 2 to 5 times as long as they are wide. Blade length varies from 1.2 to 5.1 inches (3-13 cm), and petioles measure 0.2 to 0.8 inch (5-20 mm) long. Leaf margins are typically toothed, but the pattern is inconsistent. Flowers occur in dense catkins. Catkin buds are covered in dense silky hairs and are the best-known pussy willow feature. Mature fruiting female catkins are typically 1 to 4.7 inches (2.5-12 cm) long, while mature fruiting male catkins measure 0.6 to 2 inches (1.5-5 cm) long. Historic reports from an early beekeeper indicated that a single staminate pussy willow catkin contained 270 individual flowers and a pistillate catkin had 142 flowers. Neither the age nor location of the catkin-providing shrub was reported. Pussy willow produces long-necked capsule fruits that measure 0.2 to 0.5 inch (5-13 mm) long. Seeds are small (1.2-1.6 mm long and 0.5 mm in diameter) and have rings of short, stiff and long, silky hairs at the base.
Pussy willow flowers in early spring (March-May), and flowers appear before the leaves.
Acer saccharinum (aka: Silver maple, Soft maple)
Acer negundo (aka: Boxelder, Western boxelder, Arizona boxelder, California boxelder, Texas boxelder, Interior boxelder, Violet boxelder)
Salix lucida (aka: Shining willow, Greenleaf willow, Tail-leaf willow, Whiplash willow, Pacific willow, Lance-leaf willow, Longleaf willow, Red willow, Western shining willow)
Salix bebbiana (aka: Bebb willow, Beak willow, Beaked willow, Long-beaked willow, Diamond willow, Chaton, Petit Minou, Smooth Bebb willow)
Populus tremuloides (aka: Quaking aspen, Trembling aspen, Aspen, American aspen, Mountain aspen, Golden aspen, Trembling poplar, White poplar, Popple, Alamo Blanco)
Acer saccharum (aka: Sugar maple, Rock maple, Hard maple)
Crataegus douglasii (aka: Black hawthorn, Douglas hawthorn, River hawthorn, Western thornapple)
Prunus pumila (aka: Sandcherry, Western sandcherry, Eastern sandcherry, Great Lakes sandcherry)
Salix discolor (aka: Pussy willow, American pussy willow, Glaucous willow, Large pussy willow)
Salix amygdaloides (aka: Peachleaf willow, Peach leaf willow)
Celtis occidentalis (aka: Common hackberry, Bastard elm, Nettle-tree, Northern hackberry)
Salix lutea (aka: Yellow willow)
Astragalus (aka: Milkvetch, Locoweed, Goat's-thorn)
Robinia pseudoacacia (aka: Black locust, False acacia, Yellow locust, White locust, Green locust, Post locust, Falsa acacia, Robinia)
Rhamnus cathartica (aka: Common buckthorn, European buckthorn, Dahurian buckthorn)
Sinapis arvensis (aka: Charlock mustard, California rape, Charlock, Corn mustard, Canola, Kaber mustard, Rapeseed mustard)
Gleditsia triacanthos (aka: Honey locust, Honey shucks locust, Common honeylocust, Sweet bean locust)
Prunus serotina (aka: Black cherry, Wild black cherry, Rum cherry, Mountain black cherry, Wild cherry)
Prunus pensylvanica (aka: Pin cherry, Fire cherry, Bird cherry)
Tilia americana (aka: American basswood, Basswood, Linden)