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Post  countrynaturals on 4/18/2019, 1:18 pm

What in the world is this bush I found in our yard this morning? (This is our 1st spring in this house, so there are lots of surprises.)
Puff Ball Bush??? Puffba10
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Post  countrynaturals on 4/19/2019, 10:45 am

I'm closing in on this puppy -- or should I say "kitty." When I went out this morning to take more pics, I noticed how similar its behavior is to pussy willow. I did a search and actually found a similar pic under "pussy willow tree" but I think it's a mistake. All the rest of the pics show beautiful weeping trees. This is a scrubby bush, more like regular pussy willows after their prime. Not only that, but the descriptions says Canada and Eastern U.S. in wet areas and bloom in early spring. There's nothing in that description that fits our situation.

One thing I discovered -- they spread like crazy. I found 3 more bushes in various stages, but nothing with buds. The blossoms seem to be born fuzzy.

Here's a young plant with new blooms and a closeup of one of them.
Puff Ball Bush??? Puffba14Puff Ball Bush??? Puffba15
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Post  OhioGardener on 4/19/2019, 12:42 pm

Very interesting, CN.  I wonder if that is a member of the Creosote Bush family?  We saw those down in Mojave, and they looked similar to that.  Don't know if the Creosote Bush grows outside the desert, though.
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Post  countrynaturals on 4/19/2019, 12:53 pm

@OhioGardener wrote:Very interesting, CN.  I wonder if that is a member of the Creosote Bush family?  We saw those down in Mojave, and they looked similar to that.  Don't know if the Creosote Bush grows outside the desert, though.

Hmm, looks similar, but I haven't seen any sign of yellow flowers, and the creosote bush seems more, uh, disciplined. Rolling Eyes This thing is totally out of control. Razz
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Post  sanderson on 4/19/2019, 4:06 pm

It gets really hot in Redding so I'm guessing it is something you may want to remove. If it's in the creosote family, definitely remove it. Try to get the new property in good fire-fighting condition. The palm tree looks like a keeper.

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Post  countrynaturals on 4/19/2019, 6:26 pm

@sanderson wrote:It gets really hot in Redding so I'm guessing it is something you may want to remove.  If it's in the creosote family, definitely remove it.  Try to get the new property in good fire-fighting condition.  The palm tree looks like a keeper.

I hate palm trees and I fell in love with this thing at first sight. Razz  It was definitely put here on purpose -- it's in a formal flower bed up from the pool. It probably wasn't a smart choice, since the little "puffettes" fly all over the place, like milkweed, and could end up in the pool, but it isn't anywhere near a burn zone. We have an awesome neighbor with heavy equipment, who's working on a firebreak for both of us, thank goodness.
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Post  countrynaturals on 4/21/2019, 11:30 am

@countrynaturals wrote:I'm closing in on this puppy -- or should I say "kitty." When I went out this morning to take more pics, I noticed how similar its behavior is to pussy willow. I did a search and actually found a similar pic under "pussy willow tree" but I think it's a mistake. All the rest of the pics show beautiful weeping trees. This is a scrubby bush, more like regular pussy willows after their prime. Not only that, but the descriptions says Canada and Eastern U.S. in wet areas and bloom in early spring. There's nothing in that description that fits our situation.

One thing I discovered -- they spread like crazy. I found 3 more bushes in various stages, but nothing with buds. The blossoms seem to be born fuzzy.

Here's a young plant with new blooms and a closeup of one of them.
Puff Ball Bush??? Puffba14Puff Ball Bush??? Puffba15

I'm gonna find this thing right now!
USDA Plants database
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Post  countrynaturals on 4/21/2019, 1:03 pm

@OhioGardener wrote:Very interesting, CN.  I wonder if that is a member of the Creosote Bush family?  We saw those down in Mojave, and they looked similar to that.  Don't know if the Creosote Bush grows outside the desert, though.

I just went through all 228 pages of the USDA database of California bushes, and creosote is the closest match, darn it. OTOH, the neat puffballs only last a couple of days, and the rest of the time this plant is just ugly and scrubby, so if it has to go, it's no great loss. I couldn't find a pic of this glorious puffy state, so I'm going to try and submit it to the database and see what happens.

Due to significant time constraints and limited staff, we are not accepting photo contributions at this time.
Never mind. Evil or Very Mad
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Post  sanderson on 4/24/2019, 3:13 am

At least it is documented here! Wink

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Post  countrynaturals on 4/24/2019, 1:19 pm

@sanderson wrote:At least it is documented here! Wink

I took a bunch more pics, too. I will get to the bottom of this, I swear. I posted it on another big gardening site, and a lady there said the same thing I did -- pussywillow -- but our climate would eat that for lunch. Hmmm, maybe I'll look up the latin name for pussy willow and see if that leads to any relatives. study

AHA! That did it. It's Salex Pulchra, a member of the willow family.
https://www.flora.dempstercountry.org/V.A.2.Salicaceae/Salicaceae.html

It may very well be a native plant. Gonna contact CNPS right now.
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Post  sanderson on 4/24/2019, 2:31 pm

That sure seems to be it.

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