Tamarisk (salt cedar) Facts

Tamarisk (salt cedar) Facts
Tamarisk is deciduous trees that belongs to the family Tamaricaceae. It originates from Mediterranean region, Central Asia and North China. Tamarisk is widely distributed and abundant in North America today. It can be found near the coast, in the deserts and arid habitats because of its ability to tolerate drought, salty and alkaline soils and strong winds. People cultivate tamarisk as a source of wood and in ornamental purposes.
Interesting Tamarisk (salt cedar) Facts:
Tamarisk grows in the form of tall shrub or small tree. It can reach 3 to 59 feet in height. Crown is composed of irregular, elongated, upwardly-oriented branches.
Young trees are covered with smooth, reddish-brown bark. Old trees have furrowed, bluish-purple bark.
Tamarisk produces scale-like, miniature, green-grey leaves that are densely arranged on the branches. Leaves of tamarisk do not have petioles. They are attached to the branches via wide base. Leaves of tamarisk overlap each other.
Even though tamarisk is deciduous plant, leaves can remain on the tree during the mild winter.
Tamarisk produces small, white or pink flowers. They are arranged in dense clusters at the end of the branches, creating feathery appearance of the plant.
Tamarisk blooms from March to September and produces large quantities of nectar which attracts bees, responsible for the pollination of flowers.
Fruit of tamarisk is capsule filled with numerous seed. Capsule splits into three or five parts to release seed. Each seed has tuft of hairs which facilitate dispersal by wind. Tamarisk produces up to 200.000 seed per year.
Tamarisk propagates via seed, cuttings or vegetatively via adventitious roots.
Some species of tamarisk, such as Tamarix mannifera release white substance (called manna) as an answer to insect bite. This substance is used as source of food for Bedouins in the wild.
Some species of tamarisk, such as Tamarix articulata are rich source of purple tannins that are used for tanning of leather.
Tamarisk is often cultivated as ornamental plant or to provide shelter and protection against wind in the open, windy areas.
Tamarisk has strong root system that can prevent erosion of the soil. It also can easily reach the water that is located on the great depths using its long taproot. Unlike most other plants, tamarisk tolerates salt water. It eliminates excess salt via leaves. Thanks to this feature, tamarisk can be used to mine salt.
Tamarisk is invasive plant that negatively affects growth of native plant species in the newly conquered habitats. It can easily absorb all available water from the ground and convert habitat into desert.
Wood of tamarisk can be used for carpentry or as a firewood.
Tamarisk is perennial plant which means that it can survive more than 2 years in the wild.

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