Wiggins 1964, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Welsh et al. 1993, Heil et al 2013, Carter 2012, Mandaville 2011
Common Name: five-stamen tamarisk Duration: Perennial Nativity: Non-Native Lifeform: Tree Wetland Status: FAC General: Large shrub growing into a small tree, deciduous, usually glabrous throughout; to 8 m tall but often only 4-5 m; branches slender and flexible, younger branches are reddish in color, older bark is brown. Leaves: Inconspicuous, scalelike, triangular-ovate, acute, tending to be scarious on margins, entire, somewhat keeled. Flowers: Inflorescence terminal, of numerous racemes, each 2-7 cm long. Flowers pinkish-white to pink, 5-merous, on pedicels about 1 mm long, petals about 2 mm long, persistent on the fruit at maturity. Filaments inserted between lobes of the nectary disc. Fruits: Capsule narrowly ovoid, 3-4 mm long, splits open to release numerous tiny seeds with apical tufts of hair for wind dispersal. Ecology: Escaped cultivar found along watercourses widely below 5,000 ft (1524 m); flowers April-August. Distribution: Native to Eurasia; Now distributed on every continent and throughout western N. Amer.; south to c MEX. Notes: Distinct by the needle-like leaves, similar to a cedar or Juniper tree; highly branched, thick but wispy habit; and pink to lavender flowers followed by small, wind-borne cottony seeds. Often grows as a large shrub in dense, impenetrable thickets along watercourses, especially those that are dammed upstream, cutting off the natural spring floods that promote native tree recruitment. Older thickets self-thin into woodlands as the the shrubs grow into trees. The USDA began introducing Tamarix beetles (Diorhabda spp.) in 2007 in an attempt to reduce Tamarix populations in the West. Where present, the beetles defoliate Tamarix trees throughout the growing season, so it now common to encounter leafless Tamarix thickets in the summertime. T. chinensis is by far the most common Tamarix in the American West, but it hybridizes with other species in the genus, making its taxonomy muddy. T. aphylla, the athel tree, may be encountered in the lower elevations of AZ, s. CA and Sonora, but it is a much larger tree, reaching a height of 18 m and usually does not spread from cultivation, where it is commonly planted as a windbreak an agricultural areas. Ethnobotany: Has a variety of uses in traditional Chinese medicine, including treatment of stomach flu and skin conditions. Used by the Bedouins to treat camel mange. Etymology: Tamarix comes from the Latin name derived from the Tamaris River in Spain, chinensis refers to its origin in China. Synonyms: Tamarix pentandra, Tamarix ramosissima Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2015
Has 5-merous fls, with the filaments arising from (or just outside) the sinuses of the 5-lobed disk (the disk lobes often emarginate). (T. ramosissima; T. pentandra, an illegitimate name)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
©The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Citation: The vPlants Project. vPlants: A Virtual Herbarium of the Chicago Region. http://www.vplants.org
Copyright © 2001–2009 The vPlants Project, All Rights Reserved.