Tamarix spp. L.


Tamarix spp, or salt cedar, is deciduous shrub that can grow up to 15 ft. (4.6 m) in height. The bark is smooth and reddish on younger plants, turning brown and furrowed with age.
Leaves are small (0.06 in. [0.15 cm] long), scale-like, gray-green, and overlap along the stem. Leaves are often coated with salt crystals.
Flowering occurs from March to September. Flowers are pink to white and develop in 2 in. (5.1 cm) long clusters (spikes) at the tips of the branches.
The seeds are about 0.02 in. long x 0.007 in. wide(0.45 mm x 0.17 mm) and are held in a lance-ovoid capsule from 0.12-0.16 in. (3-4 mm) long.
Ecological Threat
Several species are considered invasive in the United States and distinguishing the species can often be difficult. Tamarix spp invades streambanks, sandbars, lake margins, wetlands, moist rangelands and saline environments. It can crowd out native riparian species, diminish early successional habitat and reduce water tables, thus interfering with hydrologic processes. The stems and leaves of mature plants secrete salt. These salt secretions inhibit the growth and development of other plants. A large, mature plant can absorb up to 200 gallons (757 L) of water a day! Tamarix spp is native to Eurasia and Africa and was introduced into the western United States as an ornamental in the early 1800s. It occurs throughout the western and central United States, but it is most problematic in the Southwest.


Selected Images


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit Invasive.org

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order: Violales
Family: Tamaricaceae
Genus: Tamarix
Subject: Tamarix spp. L.


Plants - Shrub or Subshrub