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.
Cercis canadensis (aka: Eastern redbud, Redbud, Cersis Reniformis)
Malus angustifolia (aka: American crab apple, Buncombe crab apple, Crabtree, Narrowleaf crab, Narrowleaf crab apple, Southern crab, Southern crab apple)
Aronia arbutifolia (aka: Red chokeberry)
Salix discolor (aka: Pussy willow, American pussy willow, Glaucous willow, Large pussy willow)
Pyrus communis (aka: European pear, Common pear)
Celtis laevigata (aka: Hackberry, Sugarberry, Lowland hackberry, Sugar hackberry, Arizona sugarberry, Netleaf hackberry, Small's hackberry, Southern hackberry, Texas sugarberry)
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)
Malus domestica (aka: Pyrus pumila, Malus pumila, Apple)
Prunus cerasus (aka: Sour cherry, Tart cherry, Dwarf cherry, Montmorency cherry)
Malus coronaria (aka: Sweet crab apple, Garland crab, Alabama crab, Allegheny crab, American crab, Baltimore crab apple, Buncombe crab, Dawson crab, Dunbar crab, Fragrant crab, Garland tree, Lanceleaf crab apple, Missouri crab, Sweet-scented crab, Sweet wild crab, Wild crab, Wild sweet crab, Wild Crab Apple)
Populus tremuloides (aka: Quaking aspen, Trembling aspen, Aspen, American aspen, Mountain aspen, Golden aspen, Trembling poplar, White poplar, Popple, Alamo Blanco)
Prunus americana (aka: American plum, Goose plum, River plum, Wild plum)
Acer saccharum (aka: Sugar maple, Rock maple, Hard maple)
Liriodendron tulipifera (aka: Tuliptree, Blue-poplar, Tulip-poplar, Yellow-poplar, Yellow wood)
Ilex opaca (aka: American holly, Dune holly, Hummock holly, Scrub holly)
Acer platanoides (aka: Norway maple)
Celtis occidentalis (aka: Common hackberry, Bastard elm, Nettle-tree, Northern hackberry)
Catalpa speciosa (aka: Northern catalpa, Hardy catalpa, Western catalpa, Cigar tree, Catawba-tree, Bois chavanon)
Acer pensylvanicum (aka: Striped maple, Moosewood, Goosefoot maple, Whistlewood)
Acer spicatum (aka: Mountain maple, Low maple, Moose maple, Water maple, Plaine batarde, Fouereux)
Robinia pseudoacacia (aka: Black locust, False acacia, Yellow locust, White locust, Green locust, Post locust, Falsa acacia, Robinia)
Viburnum prunifolium (aka: Blackhaw, Black haw, Blackhaw viburnum, Sweet haw, Stag bush, Smooth Blackhaw Viburnum, Stagbush, Viburnum bushii)
Rhamnus cathartica (aka: Common buckthorn, European buckthorn, Dahurian buckthorn)
Vaccinium angustifolium (aka: Lowbush blueberry, Early low-bush blueberry, Low sweet blueberry)
Rubus canadensis (aka: Smooth blackberry, Thornless blackberry, Canadian blackberry, Smooth highbush blackberry)
Rubus laciniatus (aka: Cutleaf blackberry, Evergreen blackberry, Slashed blackberry)
Ajuga reptans (aka: Bugle, Blue bugle, Bugleherb, Bugleweed, Carpetweed, Carpet bugleweed, Common bugle, St. Lawrence plant)
Astragalus (aka: Milkvetch, Locoweed, Goat's-thorn)
Vaccinium corymbosum (aka: Highbush blueberry, High-bush blueberry, Northern highbush blueberry, Tall blueberry, Rabbiteye blueberry, Blue huckleberry, Tall huckleberry, Swamp huckleberry, High blueberry, Swamp blueberry)
Rhus glabra (aka: Smooth sumac, Common sumac, Rocky Mountain sumac, Red sumac, Western sumac, White sumac)
Brassica napus (aka: Rapeseed)
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)
Aronia melanocarpa (aka: Black chokeberry, Rowan, Mountain Ash, Sorbus)
Rubus phoenicolasius (aka: Wine raspberry, Japanese wineberry, Wineberry)
Prunus serotina (aka: Black cherry, Wild black cherry, Rum cherry, Mountain black cherry, Wild cherry)
Prunus pensylvanica (aka: Pin cherry, Fire cherry, Bird cherry)
Asclepias tuberosa (aka: Butterflyweed, Butterfly Milkweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root, Chigger Flower, Canada root, Fluxroot, Indian paintbrush, Indian posy, Orange root, Orange Swallow-wort, Tuber root, Yellow milkweed, White-root, Windroot, Butterfly love)
Tilia americana (aka: American basswood, Basswood, Linden)