Saltcedar, Tamarisk

Tamarix spp.

Tamaricaceae (Tamarisk family)


A native of Europe and Asia, saltcedar was introduced in the United States as an ornamental in the early 1800s. As its name implies, saltcedar can tolerate extreme salinity.

Most saltcedars are deciduous shrubs or small trees typically growing 10 to 30 feet tall and forming dense thickets. A few species are evergreen. The plant has slender branches and dense, gray-green foliage. The young twigs and stems have smooth, reddish brown bark.

The leaves are very small and scalelike, about 1/16 inch long. They often have a crustlike scale from salt secretions. From March to September, the plant produces small white, pink or purple flowers in dense masses on its stem tips. It can produce up to 500,000 seeds per plant each year from April through October.

Saltcedar has fair forage value for goats and deer.


Saltcedar grows in moist soils near rivers, streams and lakes or in shallow groundwater tables.