Salix caprea ‘Ogon’

caprea = goat    

Ogon is Japanese for yellow or gold  

Golden Goat Willow or Golden European Pussy Willow  

This is Japanese selection of the Goat Willow forms a large shrub or small tree from 15-20ft. Leaves are a little smaller than the species and open bright yellow in early spring; in summer the leaves turn greener. The winter twigs are bright red contrasting with the shiny chestnut brown flower buds that open to much-prized catkins that are soft, silky and silvery. As this is a female cultivar the catkins turn green before exposing their seeds with white fluffy hairs to help the seeds disperse with the wind. A non-fussy shrub that will grow anywhere with average to moist soil; in hotter climes it prefers a little shade so the leaves don't scorch. Prune regularly to keep a steady supply of young shoots that provide the most flowers and the brightest leaves. I thin out the thin twigs in the middle of the shrub as they produce few flowers and it exposes the framework of the tree. This treasure came from my friend Dick Jaynes at the amazing Broken Arrow Nursery in Connecticut; he in turn obtained it from Barry Yinger, the intrepid plant explorer of Korea and Japan. Unfortunately, one of the slowest willows to root! Hardy to Zone 3.

USES: ornamental shrub, cut stems in winter.

The golden leaves of the Golden Goat Willow are striking in the early spring garden when dandelions bloom. Wonderful against a bright blue sky.

Here we combined ‘Ogon’ with Baptisia ‘Screaming Yellow’ and Amsonia hubrechtii.  

That's an Asparagus seedling beside the Baptisia; a great foliage plant in a mixed border!



Pussy Willows appear on bright red stems, from bright reddish-brown buds.

They start silvery-white, turn a pale tan color and eventually green, like most female catkins.

By time Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete' blooms the catkins have turned green;

shortly after the golden foliage will explode on the scene.

S. candida is at front left with 'Ogon' behind and at top left is S. koreensis 'Hakuro'.

Foliage of bulbs and perennials promise a delicious palette of color in a week or two! The orange-red in the background was my trusty Kubota tractor!


of Michael Dodge