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This is the fruiting stage, after the female flowers have been fertilised.
recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.
Thank you I had assumed it was pre fertilisation. I will try and revisit the tree to observe the next stage as it is very interesting.
The next stage is when the fruits open and the fluffy seeds are released. You will not miss that bit, as the tree will be covered in white fluff.
I have today seen white fluffy seeds on a different willow tree - so it was good to know what I was looking at.
Lat/Lng: 53.8187, -1.7921
OS grid ref: SE137358