Tamarix spp. (R. Mueller)

Salt cedar

(Tamarix spp.)


  • Native to Northern Europe and temperate and tropical Asia.
  • Deciduous shrub/small tree
  • Introduced to the western United Statesin 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 by primarily by seed, but vegetative reproduction through fragmented roots or branches is also possible.
  • Produces 600,000 seeds per plant per year.
  • Recorded sites in Nelson, Trail and Montrose.

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 a non-invasive alternatives to invasive plants, see the Grow Me Instead guide for preferred alternatives.
  • 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.

More information available:

Alberta Invasive Plant Council PDF
E-Flora BC – Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb. saltcedar
Grand Canyon National Park Exotic Tamarisk Management
Invasive Species Council of Manitoba – Salt cedar