a couple/ few times a year, our forest river floods an area dumping all kinds of yummy run-off goodness and sand, which is a treat in this land of clay. I've seen 100 year old whole oaks go screaming by, so the current is pretty strong. What could I plant on the river's edge that would not get creamed in these floods. They happen mainly in the spring, but with the past couple day's 5" and counting, it may happen at any time. Within a couple days of the rains stopping it quickly returns to normal.
During the late summer common drought, this area is a few feet above the river's water.
I really have no idea, however I would advise that you plant from seed and then graft something on it if you must.
Otherwise the tree will have a small or no tap root and it will be easily toppled.
Mullberry, walnut family. those sound like good ideas to me.
On the riverbanks whatever you plant WILL get creamed. That's what riverbanks do... Plant riverbank species. Most of which tolerate periodic "creaming".
The USDA Ntl agroforestry center has a ton of information on Riparian zone planting and even streambank stabilization using willows etc. Here's a link to a site with way too much info on it...
IN from the river's edge you will want to focus, again, on bottomlands species... The Walnut family is a good choice....
The system from taller to shorter could include the followng species:
Walnut or Pecan
currants or gooseberries.
pawpaw, elderberry, hazelnut and aronia are also riparian species. These wouldn't go directly on the bank, but they won't mind inundation or wet feet. I'm surprised Mark didn't mention hazels, old timers in the Southern Appalachians call them "rivernuts", I think it may be a climate thing, in warmer areas they prefer more water, whereas farther north they don't need it as much?
Others could be Hazel alder (Alnus serrulata, a good nitrogen fixer with dense roots), River cane (primo winter animal fodder with dense root net), Sassafras (a great leaf vegetable plus roots for flavoring), Sochan (Rudbeckia laciniata) a perennial herbaceous vegetable that prefers moist soils.