Tamarix odessana

Tamarisk (Tamarix) - Graceful hardy shrubs, remarkably distinct in their feathery growth and pale pink flowers, produced in succession by the various kinds from May to October. No other woody plants we can grow in the open air give the same fine effect, yet they are often neglected owing to our way of mixing things together without regard to soil, exposure, and position. Lost in the jumble of the shrubbery they never give good effect, and often perish outright from the encroachments of hungry neighbors, but grouped apart with free air and space they are among the most graceful of shrubs. For the seashore they have no equal, thriving in pure sand and shingle, their fine branches splitting up the wind and the health-like foliage indifferent to the salt spray. They are readily increased from soft cuttings rooted under glass, ripened cuttings which root in the open air, and even thick branches, which often root like a Willow if planted deeply while quite fresh. We are richer in names than in distinct kinds, for the same shrubs in slightly differing forms have been named over and over again in nurseries, and some of the species run so closely together that even botanists are puzzled.

Tamarix odessana have large white feathery flowers with soft grey-green foliage. Tamerisk.

The genus Tamarix (tamarisk, salt cedar) comprises about 50-60 species of flowering plants in the family Tamaricaceae, native to drier areas of Eurasia and Africa.

They are evergreen or deciduous shrubs or trees growing to 1-18 m in height and forming dense thickets, The largest, Tamarix aphylla, is an evergreen tree that can grow to 18 m tall. They usually grow on saline soils, tolerating up to 15,000 ppm soluble salt and can also tolerate alkali conditions. Tamarisks are characterized by slender branches and grey-green foliage. The bark of young branches is smooth and reddish-brown. As the plants age, the bark becomes bluish-purple, ridged and furrowed. The leaves are scale-like, 1-2 mm long, and overlap each other along the stem. They are often encrusted with salt secretions. The pink to white flowers appear in dense masses on 5-10 cm long spikes at branch tips from March to September, though some species (e.g. T. aphylla) tend to flower during the winter.

Tamarix can spread both vegetatively, by adventitious roots or submerged stems, and sexually, by seeds. Each flower can produce thousands of tiny (1 mm diameter) seeds that are contained in a small capsule usually adorned with a tuft of hair that aids in wind dispersal. Seeds can also be dispersed by water. Seedlings require extended periods of soil saturation for establishment. Tamarix species are fire-adapted, and have long tap roots that allow them to intercept deep water tables and exploit natural water resources. They are able to limit competition from other plants by taking up salt from deep ground water, accumulating it in their foliage, and from there depositing it in the surface soil where it builds up concentrations temporarily detrimental to some plants. The salt is washed away during heavy rains. Tamarix trees are most often propagated by cuttings.

DOCUMENTATION:
Un-identified book plant list "Index of Flowers and Plants in 16th and 17th Century Gardens"
× × × close window × × ×