Common Names:
Tamarisk, Salt Cedar
Scientific name:
Tamarix ramosissima
Subspecies | Variants:
Tamarix parviflora, Tamarix gallica
Elevation range:
-25 - 7,500 ft
Flowering Months:
April, May, June, July, August
Height | Length:
10-25 ft.
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Invasive (non-native), Non-native, Nesting place for birds
State Occurrences:
Parks & Preserves:
Desert region:
Chihuahuan, Great Basin, Mojave, Sonoran

Tamarisk 1

Tamarisk in the desert

Tamarix ramosissima is a non-native invasive shrub or tree that has taken hold throughout the southwest. It has pink spikes of flowers and feathery green leaves. I may have incorrectly identified the images on this page as T. ramosissima, but am fairly certain they are all in the Tamarix genus. Anza Borrego Desert State Park | February 25, 2005

Tamarisk 5

Tamarisk in the desert

Tamarix ramosissima has deep roots and requires copious amounts of water and outcompetes native desert vegetation for resources. Additionally, it takes up salts from soil and dispels it through its leaves which can be problematic for natives that don't tolerate the salt. It reproduces sexually and vegetatively so it is very difficult to eradicate. It was planted in the 1900s as a windblock or for aesthetic purposes in gardens and spread to wildlands. Naturalists have been working to reduce its impact and have some successes in riparian corridors and at springs, but it will likely never be removed entirely. Diligence to limit its success is key. Box Canyon, CA | March 2008