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Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys'

Archive entry 06.02.11

11th March 2007

Wonderful black catkins with brick red anthers that add curiosity to the earliest days of spring. It was the perfect thing for a former garden, and cuttings of it have followed me around ever since, without ever finding quite such a perfect location again.

16th March 2008

3rd February 2009

6th February 2011

The species comes from Japan, Korea and China. This form with black catkins is a selected cultivar from Japan, introduced to Europe in 1950. It is bound to have a Japanese cultivar name and I wouldn't be surprised to see it restored over the next few decades. Be prepared for 'Kurome' or 'Kuro-yanagi' to resurface.
I am constantly delighted by the enthusiasm and good-will of nurserymen who introduce these wonders to gardens. Perhaps it is the excitement of novelty that leads them to describe it as growing to about six feet when they mean that it grows to about six feet in the first year. I haven't quite grown to six feet yet (let's put a bold face on it) and when I stand next to it in full flower I look like a midget in a swarm of bees. To put it simply, it grows larger than its considerable reputation.

12th March 2014

25th March 2015