Alternative common names:
French tamarisk is a spreading shrub or small tree, with numerous slender branches and small, alternate, scale-like leaves. The pale pink to white flowers are small and regular, and arranged in spike-like racemes. The distinct petals and sepals occur in fours or fives. The fruit is a capsule.
Where does this species come from?Western Europe from north-west France to north Africa.
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA Category 1b
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, North West and Free State.
How does it spread?Spreads vegetatively by adventitious roots or submerged stems, and sexually. Each flower can produce thousands of tiny 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.
Why is it a problem?
French tamarisk is a fire-adapted species and has a long tap root that allows it to intercept deep water tables and interfere with natural aquatic systems. It also disrupts the structure and stability of indigenous plant communities and degrades indigenous wildlife's habitat by outcompeting and replacing them.
What does it look like?
Leaves: Alternate, very small and scale-like, pale green.
Flowers: Small, lavender-pink, numerous and occurring all along the twig, attractive, appearing in early spring.
Fruit/seeds: Small, dry capsules containing small cottony seeds. They ripen in late spring.
Does the plant have any uses?
Used for the treatment of a number of issues due to its numerous medicinal qualities.