Salix caprea ‘Lemoines Improved’

caprea = of goats

Lemoine’s Goat Willow

The Lemoine family of Nancy in France introduced many fine shrubs from their nursery during the mid 19th to the early 20thC and are known especially for their hundreds of hybrid lilacs. We know nothing about how they selected this plant, but it’s a fine one. Perhaps someone with access to some of their old catalogues could fill us in? The European Goat Willow is the European equivalent of our native Pussy Willow S. discolor

(in fact this selection may be a hybrid between the two species). The foliage is quite distinct between the two species in that discolor is smooth-surfaced and glaucous underneath, where as caprea has a netted (reticulate) surface with wavy edges. For us, this selection is a very vigorous upright grower and produces masses of pussy willows in late winter. It has responded well to coppicing by producing abundant, vigorous stems with many flowers on them. Hardy to at least Zone 3.

USES: a superb cut flower and a medium sized shrub for a not too small garden.

glaucous = bluish-green, due to the presence of a waxy coating that can be rubbed off similar to that on grapes and plums

Masses of pussy willows for late winter vases.




The catkins turn yellow as the anthers mature on the male flowers. Bees are a-buzzing at this time! April.

Like so many pussy willows they start silver when they first break out of their buds. Mid-April.

The anthers first turn pink; when the pollen appears on the anthers they turn bright yellow. Photographers get to see such amazing beauty! Late April

The undersides of the leaves are less gray-green than the species. Mid-August.

Green foliage with crinkled edges and netted venation.

The red stems add extra pizzazz. Mid-August.

This selection is very free flowering making it a wonderful cut flower as well as a showy fellow in the garden. Late April

The two catkins on the upper right have lost their pollen, probably to bees. Other catkins haven't even opened yet! Early May.

The overwintering catkin buds are bright red and densely hairy, as are this year's stems. Photo in late October

This is a very vigorous upright growing clone of the goat willow. Holds it's foliage very well--this is late October.

In late October the abundant vigorous stems that are highly suitable for living struactures are clearly seen.

These were coppiced immediately after flowering so bees could harvest the masses of pollen.

Is it a plane, a bird, or a UFO? No! It's an early bee looking for pollen.




of Michael Dodge