Tamarix aphylla

Another thank you to S.Q. Mehdi@Flickr (Qamar) of Lahore, Pakistan, for sharing one of his photographs with Botany Photo of the Day (see the original image posted via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool).

Qamar refers to the plant as Tamarix articulata (link to Wikipedia entry), but that name seems to have become a synonym of Tamarix aphylla (Flora of Pakistan verifies), so this entry is written using web resources for Tamarix aphylla.

Native to much of central and northern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, western Asia and the Indian subcontinent, Tamarix aphylla can also be found as a naturalized plant in Australia and the southwest USA. I vaguely recall stories some years ago about salt-cedar (or tamarisk) species displacing native willows along riparian zones in both Australia and the southwest USA. A search for recent news, though, reveals a distressing tale: “Beetles Bungled — Biological Control Out of Control“. In brief, beetles released as biological control for tamarisk in the USA have been so effective that they are quickly eradicating the invasive, and thus destroying habitat for the endangered willow flycatcher (a bird species of the native willows — before the willows were displaced by the tamarisk).

To see the extent of Tamarix aphylla in Australia, view this map of weed spread (PDF). A number of invasive plant resources exist for tamarisk as well: Tamarix aphylla via Invasives.org and Tamarix aphylla via TexasInvasives.org (with the catchy slogan, “Hello Invasives, Goodbye Texas”).

On a different topic: Botanic Gardens Conservation International has recently launched a new campaign to garner support for the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), an initiative to provide a framework for plant conservation actions at global, regional, national and local levels. You can help by adding your name to the list of supporters on Plants for the Planet. Browsing through the list of supporters, I see many people from botanical gardens and/or the UK — would be great to have more people from around the world and additional people not directly in the botanical garden community. Only takes a minute to sign up (but you may want to read the GSPC first). Thanks for your support if you choose to do so!

Tamarix aphylla

13 responses to “Tamarix aphylla”

  1. Linda T.

    Thanks for the “Plants for the Planet” link. I immediately went there & signed up. The more I hear about the loss of biodiversity (mostly from PRI’s “Living on Earth” & NPR’s “Environment” podcasts), the more distressed and alarmed I become! Thank you to the UBC for what you do to *preserve* species!

  2. annie Morgan

    I hope people will stop introducing beetles to curb something before they have any idea of what other damage will be done down the line. I can understand it happening once – but no-one seems to learn from a first mistake. Asian beetle introduction is another horrible example – when the designated prey ran out, they turned to devouring lady bugs.

  3. Andrea

    The problem is not with the beetles, it’s with the lack of willows, which are so easy to plant–sharpen a stick and shove it in the ground, boom! new willow. So start planting ahead of the beetles, which take 3-5 years to kill a tamarisk.

  4. Jamie

    When I was in college, an ecology student did her
    Senior Project on the Tamarisk.
    I have recently learned that it is invasive, at least in CA.

  5. sergioniebla

    Hermoso árbol y hermosa foto ….felicidades …

  6. Eric in SF

    I think this is the Tamarix I saw all over Death Valley this past March. Fascinating.

  7. elizabeth a airhart

    my name and country are now on the plants
    for the planet list i am florida usa
    i sometimes wonder if a tree could talk
    if we would up root it if it could say no
    we have more then our share of invasives here
    and then the controls from the outside become
    a large problem -invasive.org is a good link
    thank you daniel

  8. mehdi aliabadi

    I colleted , photographed& diagnosed it in iran.
    birjand east of iran.
    but how propagat it?

  9. Heather

    This has been classified as one of Australia’s worst 20 weeds, and is a huge problem over here.

  10. CherriesWalks

    I just put a link to plants for the planet on my facebook page – I really hope it will generate interest & members. Thank you for the great job you do at UBC.

  11. phillip

    at first i thought this was a painting..nice effects…i added my name to be a supporter of plants for the planet…quite painless…

  12. Meghan S

    I’m used to seeing tamarisk much smaller and more shrub-like here in CA, especially around rivers. Upon doing some research on the USDA PLANTS website, it looks like the one I’m used to seeing is Tamarix ramosissima, a.k.a salt cedar.

  13. Wendy Cutler

    I don’t know that I’d be able to recognize it without its pink flowers, which we saw on our England tour last month. Here’s a forums posting with a photo.

    Thanks for the interesting photo and write-up today. I signed up.

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