Salt Cedar

Scientific Name:

Tamarix ramosissima

Type:

Shrub

Habitat:

Riparian areas and damp rangelands, as well as along riverbanks and lake shores

Range:

Native to Europe and Asia; introduced throughout North America including some eastern and many western parts of the United States, as well as Mexico

Status:

Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

INVASIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Salt cedar shrubs, also known as tamarisk, are perennial, woody plants that can grow anywhere from five to over twenty feet tall. These shrubs have slender, reddish-brown branches and greenish scale leaves seen in other cedar and tree species. Salt cedar plants also grow five-petaled flowers, which can be shades of pink or white.

Fast Facts:

  • Salt cedar shrubs were planted as decorative bushes and for soil erosion control when they were introduced throughout the United States.

  • The spread of salt cedar can be controlled through use of tamarisk leaf beetles (Diorhabda elongata), which feed on salt cedar shrubs. However, this method is not widely used because tamarisk plants can harbor protected wildlife and incur legal penalties if the beetles are used.

  • Salt cedar in riparian areas can remove up to 13 acre-feet of water from the soil (about 977,550 gallons) per year, causing ecosystems to become drier and less hospitable for native species.

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Victoria Wrubel (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

June 16, 2021, 9:31:05 PM