Saltcedar/Tamarisk (Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb)
Tamarisk family (Tamaricaceae)
This deciduous shrub and small tree is native to Turkey, Iran, Southern USSR, China and Mongolia and grows 5 to 20 feet (1.5-6 m) tall.Bark on saplings and young branches is reddish brown turning gray, and fissured with age.
The pale blue green leaves are small and scale-like, have a smooth (entire) edge, and are borne alternately on highly branched slender stems.
Flowers are pink to white, may occur in spring through late summer and are usually 5-petalled. Smallflower tamarisk (T. parviflora DC.) is similar in appearance, but has 4-petaled flowers, with brown to deep purple bark on the stems. Smallflower tamarisk was introduced from southern Europe, and is also widespread.
Seeds are pollen grain sized, easily dispersed and will germinate readily on any open, moist sites.
Originally, salt cedar was introduced as an ornamental and later used as a streambank stabilization species. It has invaded throughout the desert southwest, mostly along waterways, and altering wetland habitats. Its aggressive root system uses copious amounts of ground water, often to the detriment of other species. Few to no plants grow under its canopy, probably because of the high concentrations of salt that builds up in the soil from its accumulated leaf litter and the excretion of salt from glands on the leaves.
- Flowers are pink, small, 5-petaled, and borne in long clusters along stems. Leaves are scale-like, on slender, wispy multi-branched, green stems.
- Smooth woody stems are dark brown to reddish-brown.
Owens Valley floor water-spreading basins, Upper and Lower Owens River channel, Tinemaha Reservoir, Diaz Lake, Owens Lake, and springs in the White and Inyo Mountains.