Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: black pussy willow
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Salicaceae
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Deep purplish black w/ red anthers
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Erosion, Wet Soil, Black Walnut


Grow in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist soils in full sun. Consider cutting back plant hard every 3-4 years to promote new, vigorous growth.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Black pussywillow is a mounded, multi-stemmed shrub typically growing 6-10' tall. Dioecious. Attractive black male and female flowering catkins bloom in March-April before the foliage unfolds. Plumper and showier male catkins (1.5" long) are deep purplish-black with contrasting red anthers which gradually turn yellow with pollen. Attractive purplish-black stems in winter. Ovate, finely toothed leaves (to 4" long) are dark green above and silver green below.


Susceptible to numerous foliar diseases, blights and cankers and to many insect pests including aphids and scale. Weak stems are susceptible to damage from storms and wind.

Garden Uses

Black pussywillow is grown mainly for its attractive black catkins, its purplish-black stems in winter and its ability to prosper in wet locations. Attractive specimen shrub for home landscapes. Grows well in moist places where other shrubs may falter. Excellent as a screen, in low spots or along ponds or streams.