Here's a "trash tree" I photographed in July of this year, along a flowing stream in the Mission Valley area of San Diego, California. These trees were numerous, and most of them had a cottony cluster of presumably opened seed tufts around their hanging, brown, seed pods. The trees crowded around the stream, though I didn't see any of them growing in the water itself. The trees were about 20-25 feet tall, I believe. Also in the area were sycamores, pan palms, various rushes, cattails, and other water-loving native plants.
...and the following photo shows Salix laevigata (Red Willow = Polished Willow) as having those cottony tufts... http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/imgs/misc/eric/m3-21.jpg
...whereas the leaves of most of the others in that list didn't match well, and none of the others showed those tufts, so my bet is currently on Salix laevigata. Thanks, JasperDale. I'm still looking, though.
It's growing wild, but I can't tell if it's native vs. naturalized. The other plants around it are native, though. I'm not sure what term is less derogatory than "trash tree". I'm just used to the tiny, easily broken, wild trees that grow along creeks in San Diego being useless for climbing, landscaping, timber, or anything else practical, so I lumped these together with the others as "trash" when actually they're fairly impressive.
Salix laevigata has orange-red shoots?! Then I'll bet that's it, because in the creek itself, underwater, near those trees, were weird orangish roots that I thought was some type of aquatic plant, but according to your logic those were probably just parts of the willows. Here are the two photos I took of those orange growths I saw nearby, underwater...
[quote]Salix laevigata has orange-red shoots?! Then I'll bet that's it, because in the creek itself, underwater, near those trees, were weird orangish roots that I thought was some type of aquatic plant, but according to your logic those were probably just parts of the willows.[/quote]
OK, it looks like Resin wins, as usual. Thanks for your good work, Resin. I'll agree to Salix lasiolepis due to the green twigs and also I found an online photo of Salix lasiolepis with those fluffy white seed clusters... http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salixlasiolepis.jpg
Here's a parting pic, another photo I took of the leaves that day...