- Family: Willow Family – Salicaceae
- Growing form and height: Shrub. 0.5–2.5 m (1.5–8 ft.).
- Flower: Male and female flowers on separate plants. Inflorescence a stout, dense, many-flowered catkin on a short, small-leaved stalk. Individual flowers in axils of catkin scales, small, lacking perianth. Catkin scales small, hairy, with dark tip. Stamens 2 base of filament hairy, anthers yellow. Pistil formed from 2 fused carpels, ovary grey-hairy.
- Leaves: Alternate. Stalked, stipulate. Stipules persistent, large, kidney-shaped, and with saw-like margins. Leaf-blade 2.5–5 cm (1–2 in.), obovate, with bent apex, wavy and entire or small-toothed margins, dark dull green, sparsely hairy, and wrinkled above, greyish, downy, and prominently veined beneath. Vein pairs 7–9.
- Buds: Small, pale brown, hairy or hairless.
- Fruit: Pale brown, hairy capsule. Seeds plumed.
- Habitat: Swamp margins, damp scrubby meadows, mire patches on rock outcrops, shores, forest and field margins, roadsides.
- Flowering time: May–June. Flowers before coming into leaf.
Willows are insect-pollinated, sympodially growing, dioecious trees, shrubs, or dwarf shrubs. Their buds have a single protective scale, and their leaves are entire and stipulate. The inflorescence is a catkin which falls off in one piece.
The branches of eared willow point in different directions giving the shrub a somewhat “messy” general appearance. Older twigs are brownish-grey, usually hairless, and ridged beneath the bark. Young shoots are reddish-brown, fairly delicate, and sparsely hairy or hairless. Eared willow flowers before coming into leaf. It is very common in Southern Finland, and it grows on various kinds of sites. Hybrids between willow species are common. Eared willow may hybridise at least with tea-leaved willow (S. phylicifolia), Salix starkeana and occasionally with dark-leaved willow (S. myrsinifolia).