Goat Willow
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Goat Willow
P Introduced Photo: Shakir Ahmad
Common name: Goat Willow, Pussy willow, Great sallow • Kashmiri: Braed mushk برآڑ مشک
Botanical name: Salix caprea    Family: Salicaceae (Willow family)
Synonyms: Salix aquatica, Salix caprina, Salix tomentosa, Salix ulmifolia

Goat Willow is a deciduous shrub or small tree, reaching a height of 8-10 m, rarely up to 13 m. The leaves are 3-12 cm long and 2-8 cm wide, broader than most other willows. The flowers are soft silky, and silvery 3-7-cm-long catkins are produced in early spring before the new leaves appear. The male and female catkins are on different plants. The male catkins mature yellow at pollen release, the female catkins mature pale green. The fruit is a small capsule 5-10 mm long containing numerous minute seeds embedded in fine, cottony hairs. The seeds are very small (about 0.2 mm) with the fine hairs aiding dispersal. Goat Willow is native to Europe and N Asia, cultivated in Kashmir.
Medicinal uses: A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers. Distilled water from the flowers is considered to be aphrodisiac, cordial and stimulant. It is often used externally in the treatment of headaches and ophthalmia. The ashes of the wood are useful in the treatment of haemoptysis.

Identification credit: Shakir Ahmad Photographed in Ganderbal, Kashmir.

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