Tamarix spp. (R. Mueller)

Salt cedar

Tamarix spp.


  • Also known as “Tamarisk”
  • Native to Northern Europe and temperate and tropical Asia.
  • Deciduous shrub/small tree
  • Introduced to the western United States in the 1800s for ornamental use
  • Foliage is bright green in summer. Leaves are diamond-shaped and scaly, resembling the leaves of a cedar tree. Leaves turn orange in the fall.
  • White-pink flowers grow in long clusters.
  • Grows especially well in fine-textured soils but can tolerate other soil conditions.
  • Shade intolerant.
  • Mainly found in riparian areas.
  • Reproduces primarily by seed, but vegetative reproduction through fragmented roots or branches is also possible.
  • Produces 600,000 seeds per plant per year.

Consequences of invasion

  • Creates deep taproots which can access groundwater and uptake vast amounts of water.
  • This plant can interfere with the water cycle and increase the frequency, intensity, and effect of fires and floods.
  • Invades streambanks, lakeshores, and wetlands.
  • Crowds out native species such as willows and red osier dogwood.

Management options

  • Mechanical removal can be difficult since the plant can reproduce from small fragments
  • Chemical treatments are rarely suitable for this plant since it grows in riparian areas.
  • Select non-invasive alternatives to invasive plants. See the PlantWise guide for informed purchases.
  • Avoid accidentally introducing non-native plants to surrounding water bodies by installing water gardens a safe distance away. Ensure water gardens are not allowed to overflow to wetlands, streams or rivers.
  • Properly dispose of garden and yard waste by double bagging and disposing of it at your local landfill.
  • Prevent plants from spreading from existing populations by washing vehicles, boots, and animals that have been in infested areas.
  • Report plants infestations found in remote locations.

Status in the CKISS region

  • There is currently insufficient information about salt cedar in the CKISS region to assign it a management category on the CKISS Annual Priority List.

  • Insufficient information is available regarding the distribution, impacts, potential for spread, and/or feasibility of control within the CKISS region.
  • CKISS plans on carrying out inventory as required, monitoring known locations, and/or finding out more information from other regions.
  • To learn more about how CKISS classifies and manages invasive species, see our Invasive Species Priority Lists page.

Additional resources