Tamarisk (Tamarix ramosissima), (Tamarix chinensis), (Tamarix parviflora)

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A spreading, deciduous shrub or small tree. It grows to 8 m tall, and can form dense thickets. Branches are numerous; slender, with small, alternate, grayish-green overlapping scale-like leaves. Leaves often become encrusted with salt secretions. Branches take on a brown-purple color as they age. Bark of young branches is smooth and reddish-brown. Pale pink to white flowers bloom in dense masses on 1 cm wide spikes at branch tips. Flower petals and sepals occur in fours and fives. Flowers are pollinated by bees and other insects and produce greenish-yellow to pinkish-red capsules, which split into three to five parts on maturity.

Key Identifiers
  • features fine-textured, juniper-like foliage, but is neither evergreen nor coniferous, producing true flowers
  • reddish, slender, arching branchlets
  • pale gray-green scale-like leaves
  • plumes (dense feathery racemes) of pink/white flowers
Location in Canada
Naturalized populations have been found in BC. Tamarix spp. is sold as an ornamental under the name "Pink Cascade" Tamarisk in some nurseries. Ornamental plants are known to exist in Alberta, none have escaped, yet.

  • Biology of Invasive Alien Plants in Canada. 11. Tamarix ramosissima T. chinensis and hybrids
  • Alberta Invasive Plants Council - Salt Cedar
Similar species
Species identification is difficult because some of the species are very similar in appearance and hybridization is common. Distinction between Tamarix sp is based on differences in morphology of the nectary disk and staminal filaments that are often difficult to separate, as the traits are not clearly expressed.

Salt cedar (Tamarix ramosissima) is 5-merous, with nectar disk lobes wider than long, stamens alternate disk lobes. Leaves ovate. Smallflower tamarisk (Tamarix parviflora) is 4-merous, with nectar disks longer than wide, stamens together with disk lobes. Leaves linear. Chinese tamarisk (Tamarix chinensis) is 5-merous, has persitant petals, nectar disk lobes wider than long, stamens alternate of disk lobes. Leaves oblong to narrowly laneolate.

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Tamarisk (Tamarix ramosissima), (Tamarix chinensis), (Tamarix parviflora) - Current Document
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This document is maintained by Shelley Barkley.
This information published to the web on April 2, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 21, 2018.