Shrubs or small trees, to 10 m tall; bark grayish green. Branchlets glabrous or pubescent, usually gray pubescent when young. Buds yellow or russetish, ovoid-oblong, pilose. Stipules narrowly lanceolate or falcate, margin dentate; petiole 5-12 mm, silky pubescent; leaf blade linear-lanceolate, 15-20 cm, abaxially densely long silky pubescent, silvery shiny, adaxially dull green, glabrous or slightly pubescent, base narrowly cuneate, margin entire or slightly sinuolate, sometimes revolute, apex acuminate or acute. Flowering precocious or coetaneous. Male catkin oblong-ovoid, 2-3 × ca. 1.5 cm, sessile; bracts brownish, oblong-ovate, with long, loose hairs or pubescent, apex black, obtuse or acute. Male flower: gland 1; stamens 2; filaments distinct, rarely united at base, glabrous; anthers golden yellow, becoming brown. Female catkin terete, (2-)3-4 cm; bracts as in male catkin. Female flower: gland as in male flower; ovary ovoid or ovoid-conical, densely silky pubescent, sessile or subsessile; style 0.3-2 mm, ca. 1/2 as long as ovary, longer than stigma; stigma 2-cleft or subentire. Fl. Apr-May, fr. May-Jun. 2n = 38.