Description from Flora of China
Trees to 20(-25) m tall; trunk to 1 m d.b.h.; bark dull gray, fissured; crown spreading. Branchlets brownish, glabrous, tomentose when young. Buds coadnate, ca. 6 × 1.5 mm, apex acute. Stipules caducous; petiole 2-10 mm, sericeous; leaf blade lanceolate, oblanceolate, or obovate-lanceolate, 5-12 (-1.5) × 1-2(-3.5) cm, abaxially tomentose or subglabrous, adaxially often glabrous, both surfaces sericeous when young, base cuneate, margin serrulate, apex acuminate or long acuminate; lateral veins 12-15 on each side of midvein. Flowering coetaneous. Male catkin 3-5 cm; peduncle 5-8 mm; bracts yellowish, ovate-lanceolate or obovate-oblong, ciliate, abaxially glabrous, adaxially subglabrous or pilose at base, margin entire. Male flower: glands adaxial and abaxial; stamens 2, free; filaments pilose at base; anthers yellow. Female catkin 3-4.5 cm, to 5.5 cm in fruit; bracts yellowish, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, ciliate, caducous, abaxially cottony at base, adaxially sericeous. Female flower: glands adaxial and abaxial, adaxial gland rarely small; ovary ovoid-conical, 4.5-5 mm, glabrous, shortly stipitate or subsessile; style short, 2-lobed; stigma 2-parted. Fl. Apr-May, fr. May. 2n = 76.
Used for timber, weaving wicker baskets, and as a nectariferous plant.
Along rivers, also cultivated; below 3100 m. Gansu, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Xizang [WC Asia, Europe]