Content Detail

Tamarix is a large shrub or small tree found in wetlands.This Eurasian shrub is on many invasive lists and should not be planted. In Illinois, it is classified as an exotic weed and is illegal to buy and sell.

  • Family (English) Tamarix
  • Family (botanic) Tamaricaeae
  • Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium shrub (5-8 feet), Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil
  • Tolerances Occasional flooding, Road salt, Wet sites
  • Season of interest midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink
  • Shape or form Irregular, Open, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Fast

Size & Form: 

Tamarix is an irregularly branched, colony-forming shrub reaching 10 to 15 feet high, sometimes more tree-like up to 20 feet high.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

This plant is native to western Europe, China, India, and Japan

Bark color and texture: 

The bark starts smooth and red-brown, becoming gray-brown and furrowed as it ages. They have very slender, rounded branches.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

The alternate, simple leaves are lanceolate and only 1/8 inch long. Foliage is bright green to blue green, similar to juniper needles.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Flowers are in dense, 1 to 3 inch long terminal racemes. The individual flowers are pinkish-white to rosy pink with five petals. Flowers, which last about 6 weeks, appear in June and July on new wood. 

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Fruit is a non-showy capsule.

Plant care:

Tamarix has colony-forming branches that spread by roots. It requires full sun in adequate moisture and prefers acid soils. Tolerant of low fertility soils. Do not fertilize. Flowers on new wood, prune in spring. This Eurasian shrub is on many invasive lists and should not be planted. In Illinois, it is classified as an exotic weed and is illegal to buy and sell.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Cankers, powdery mildew, scale insects, and root rot can all be problems for this plant.

Related species 

Small flowered tamarisk (Tamarix parviflora):

A large shrub reaching 12 to 15 feet high with light pink flowers. Flowers are four-petaled. Zones 4-8.

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