Click for previous Image Image 1 of 2 Salix gracilistyla Black Pussy Willow

Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys'

Black Pussy Willow

Plant Type:


Salix gracistyla ​'Melanostachys’ – I love the Black Pussy Willow. In late winter actual black catkins occur in great numbers on dark red to red-purple younger wood. Catkins stretch to display some interior green the color of a frozen margarita but only on close inspection; they appear black from just a short distance away for some time. Black catkins eventually sprout red anthers which finally display yellow pollen. Interestingly, the catkins in 2013 emerged a very dark crimson for the most part with some black and others a mix of black and red. Older, 2nd or 3rd year wood, is attractive olive green. The foliage that follows this amazing show is dark green and glossy on a mounding shrub. We have ours planted near Hamamelis x ‘Arnold Promise’ with Hellebores for a late winter/early spring extravaganza. Your Black Pussy Willow may arrive modestly and attractively pruned. Established pot grown shrub from cutting.

Please scroll down to the Genus Overview for more information.




10-15 ft


10 ft

Characteristics and Attributes for Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys'

Season of Interest (Flowering)

  • Late Winter / Spring

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Spring / Summer / Autumn

Interesting Bark

  • Colored


  • Full Sun


  • Specimen
  • Shrub Border
  • Hedge
  • Accent
  • Hedgerow
  • Marginal
  • Natural Garden

Growth Rate in the Garden

  • Moderately Fast


  • Fertile
  • Moist


  • Manchuria
  • Japan
  • Korea

Propagated By

  • Cutting Grown

Genus Overview: Salix

Common Name: Willow

Salix. These are the willows, a large genus of woody plants. Some willows are small shrubs, others grow into huge trees and there are many bushy species which fall in between. All prefer sun planted in fertile moisture retaining soils; some are tolerant of quite wet feet. Many have quite attractive lanceolate leaves with silvery undersides that flash in summer breezes… I have often thought of these as the “poor man’s bamboo”. Some have contorted and beautifully colored bark which shines in the winter landscape. Many sport beautiful winter/spring catkins. Nearly all willows have utilitarian applications in fencing, rods, basket making. All are very prune-able; in fact, any of the larger shrubs depending upon how you desire to employ them will respond well to pruning and coppicing. When coppiced those with beautifully colored winter stems display many more of them. And as with ornamental shrub dogwoods younger stems exhibit the best, most intense winter tones. All ornamental characteristics will be presented according to species/cultivar. All of the following offerings are established pot grown shrubs from a cutting. We may prune back all larger growing selections prior to shipping so that you will not incur the extra handling charge.