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Plant Guide


422 Bath Road
Brunswick, ME 04011


89 Foreside Road
Falmouth, ME 04105


201 Gray Rd (Route 100)
Cumberland, ME 04021


Black Pussy Willow

Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys'

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Black Pussy Willow (Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys') at Skillins Greenhouse

Black Pussy Willow flowers

Black Pussy Willow flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Black Pussy Willow (Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys') at Skillins Greenhouse

Black Pussy Willow

Black Pussy Willow

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Black Pussy Willow (Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys') at Skillins Greenhouse

Black Pussy Willow foliage

Black Pussy Willow foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  15 feet

Spread:  10 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  4a


This interesting variety will often bloom before the snow melts; no other willow compares to the display of orange anthers against the jet black catkins; slow growing and easily controlled by selective pruning, this variety is suitable for smaller areas

Ornamental Features

Black Pussy Willow features delicate black catkins with orange anthers along the branches from late winter to early spring before the leaves. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has dark green foliage throughout the season. The pointy leaves turn yellow in fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant. The smooth bark and brick red branches add an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes

Black Pussy Willow is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a more or less rounded form. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined foliage.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Messy

Black Pussy Willow is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Black Pussy Willow will grow to be about 15 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Massing  Screening  Naturalizing 
Flowers  Bark 
Ornamental Features