Giant pussy willow, Japanese pussy willow:
It's hard not to feel fond of a plant you can pet. The furry catkins on giant pussy willow grow so large they resemble rabbit's feet. Some even sport "toes." This fun small tree reaches 15 feet to 25 feet tall at a fast rate. Its narrow, dark-green leaves are a lighter tone underneath. Perfect for winter interest in the garden, its buds swell shiny red in late winter. To enjoy it indoors, cut branches as soon as the silky rose-gray catkins emerge. Eventually, they will bristle with fuzzy yellow anthers. Plant in full sun and moist soil for the best growth.
Ellen Nibali, Maryland Cooperative Extension Service