Thursday, January 13, 2011

CNY Decorative Plants : Pussy Willow 银柳

银柳 ( pronounced yin liu in Mandarin ) is Pussy Willow, a shrub of  Salix family.  Salix is a big family of around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, distributed all over northern hemisphere.  Most Salix are known as willow, some narrow-leaved shrubs are called osier.

The Salix used for decoration during CNY could be S. gracilistyla, a shrub native to Japan, Korea and China.   However, any Salix with furry flower buds along a long straight branch is qualify as decorative cutting during the spring festival.  Thus the list could extend to S. caprea, S. discolor,  S. cinerea etc

The furry flower buds are actually male flowers.  The buds appear early spring, before the leaves emerge, after the long cold winter.

Pussy willow ( yin liu ) in Mandarin sounds like “money” ( yin liang ), thus having the pussy willow around symbolizes abundant luck and prosperity.



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