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I've seen this bush both in the Denver CO and in the Amarillo TX area. It has a pleasant warm smell. The specimen photoed is about 6 ft tall and 6 ft wide though I don't know how much bigger it might get.

I'm trying using those planned identification apps with little success, I got results such as white willow which this plant clearly is not, based on comparing photos.

In Denver it grows in a mostly uncultivation area next to an unused irrigation canal, but could be an invasive or a transplant. Bark is smooth and the leaves are thin and fold easily without snapping. The smell comes from the bush in general not from any apparent blooms or from disturbing the leaves.

Photo of leaves Photo of branches

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    Where is it growing? Somewhere truly wild or somewhere that could have been cultivated? Can you get close enough to the trunk or a major branch to get a photo of the bark? Is it the leaves that smell, when crushed (and how do they crush - they look like they'd snap if you folded them in half)?
    – Chris H
    Aug 15, 2023 at 13:46
  • It should eventually produce flowers, which will make it much easier for the plant apps to identify what it is. Nov 22, 2023 at 3:25

2 Answers 2

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You are unfortunately incorrect, this is not a bush, but multiple willow saplings growing together. Willow saplings will do that, and that is why they often grow into trees with multiple trunks. They often give the appearance of bushes.

Your observation can thus be narrowed to the genus Willows (Salix) mainly by leaf placement and shape. From there we must try and determine the species

You very helpfully gave two locations. Therefore I can cross-reference them and determine local results. From that, it can be determined that there is only two types of willows that exist in both locations:

  • Peachleaf Willow (Salix amygdaloides)
  • Narrowleaf Cottonwood (Populus angustifolia)

And after poking through image databases, it can be determined that this is a Narrowleaf Cottonwood or Populus angustifolia:

It is understandable why you thought it was a bush

Example:
enter image description here

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Looks like a laurel. When you have some bay leaves close at hand you could go there and make a comparison.

If it is not a bay laurel chances are it is a closely related species.

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  • Laurel / bay leafs are not thin and easily bendable. So I doubt you are right.
    – Willeke
    Nov 13, 2023 at 19:38
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    @Willeke you've seen to many supermarket bay leaves. Real bay leaves rather than bent can grow a little bit contorted. Anyway it could still be a related species.
    – FluidCode
    Nov 13, 2023 at 19:41
  • I have had the pleasure to know a bay tree, took it up a Ferris wheel the day we met.
    – Willeke
    Nov 13, 2023 at 20:48
  • I agree with @Willeke Laurel leaves are entire (untoothed), rather than the crenate form seen in the photos of the question. I think this holds true for most of the Lauraceae, but is certainly true for Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis). I've been through the list of closely related species as linked and it isn't any of them.
    – bob1
    Apr 11 at 21:14

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