Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Black Pussy Willow
Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys'

Family: Salicaceae (sal-i-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salix (SAL-iks) (Info)
Species: gracilistyla (grass-il-ih-STY-luh) (Info)
Cultivar: Melanostachys

Synonym:Salix gracistyla var. melanostachys
Synonym:Salix melanostachys

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

19 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)
8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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By haighr
Thumbnail #1 of Salix gracilistyla by haighr

By Charlotteda
Thumbnail #2 of Salix gracilistyla by Charlotteda

By irmaly
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By growin
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By mgarr
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There are a total of 12 photos.
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1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Jan 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

It astounds me that this cultivar is planted so much more often than the species, which is vastly showier. This just shows the power of the horticultural press, where this cultivar is highly oversold. In fine gardening circles, this is a Currently Fashionable Plant. If you want it for its beauty in the landscape and not just for its novelty value in arrangements, plant the species and not this cultivar.

Blooming begins in mid-January and continues for over a month in Boston Z6. The catkins open black with hints of red before the stamens emerge---the black color is transitory. At this stage, the flowering stems are interesting in indoor arrangements, but the catkins of this cultivar are nearly invisible in the landscape. The catkins are also a fraction of the size of those of the species, which are much showier and silvery-pink.

This makes a large shrub to ten feet tall and wide, but it does not turn into a tree, even if left unpruned. Responds well to pruning in late winter. Can be renewal pruned as necessary.

Positive Charlotteda On Mar 10, 2007, Charlotteda from Pickens, SC (Zone 7a) wrote:

Has a serious root system so decide where you want it to stay before you plant.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Clay, Kentucky
Ellicott City, Maryland
Laurel, Maryland
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Lansing, Michigan
Pawling, New York
Toledo, Ohio
Salem, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Pickens, South Carolina
Lexington, Virginia
Wytheville, Virginia
Olympia, Washington
Seattle, Washington

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