15 MARCH 1940, Page 15


Palm Botany " Palm Sunday " is celebrated in a great many country cottages. The people have decided that the nearest thing to the Eastern palm is the so-called pussy willow ; but only the male willow is accepted as the proper decoration. Its com- fortable, fat, cushiony. catkins are of a satisfactory gold colour and develop well when plucked and set in a vase; but the cat- kins of the other sex, though not of gold, are precious with a silver tint and very beautiful. The second method of cele- brating Palm Sunday is to have a fig pudding for dinner. The practice is perhaps an endeavour to find a more Eastern plant than the English sallow or willow. The commonest of the willows in many districts is the purple willow, which has humble but not unattractive tassels. Of all the willows the loveliest, to my eyes, is the golden variety of Vitellina Pendula, whose leaves and catkins, coming out together very early in the spring, are scarcely distinguishable in hue ; and the green- yellow daffodil shade is peculiarly eloquent of spring.