tamarisk

Violales > Tamaricaceae > Tamarix spp. L.

Tamarisk, or salt cedar, is deciduous shrub that can grow up to 15 ft. (4.6 m) in height. Leaves are small (1/16 in. [0.15 cm] long), scale-like, gray-green, and overlap along the stem. Leaves are often coated with salt crystals. The bark is smooth and reddish on younger plants, turning brown and furrowed with age. 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. Several species are considered invasive in the United States and distinguishing the species can often be difficult. Tamarisk 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! Tamarisk 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.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Foliage;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Tom Heutte, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Tom Heutte, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; invading entire floodplain
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Seed(s);
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Colorado - Noxious Weed Law
  • Montana - Noxious Weed Law
  • Nebraska - Noxious Weed Law
  • New Mexico - Noxious Weed Law
  • Nevada - Noxious Weed Law
  • North Dakota - Noxious Weed Law
  • South Dakota - Noxious Weed Law
  • Texas - Noxious Weed Law
  • Texas - Invasive Plant List
  • Wyonming - Noxious Weed Law
  • Invasive Plants: Western North America
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia