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General: Willow Family (Salicaceae). Prairie willow is a colonial shrub as tall as 3m (10 feet) (McGregor et al. 1986, Stephens 1973). The young branches are yellow beneath the gray pubescence. Leaves are alternate, simple, lance-shaped, 6-10 cm (2.4-3.9 in) long. Leaves are dark green and usually glabrous above and densely short-hairy beneath, with the golden yellow veins raised prominently on the lower surface. Plants bloom from April to May and fruit in early June. Catkins emerge before the leaves. The pistillate (female) catkins are sessile, 1-4 cm (0.4-1.6 in) long, and ovoid-conic. The small, hairy capsules are 4-6 mm (1/4 in) long. When ripe, they open to release tiny wind-born seeds with silky hairs at their base.