Tamarix aphylla Tamaricaceae
Athel Tamarisk, Athl, Tarfa TAM-a-riks
- Evergreen shrub or tall tree to 30 to 60 ft (9-18 m). Bark is furrowed in long ridges, red-brown to gary. Leave alternate, simple, minute (only 1.5 mm long), essentially sheathing the twig, which are slender and jointed. Flowers are borne in 6-cm terminal clusters (racemes), they are small, 5-membered, and pink to white.
- Sun. It has a deep taproot and is drought resistant and tolerant of alkaline and saline soils.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 8 (Although plants are severely damaged at 0o F, they recover quickly.) Native to northeastern Africa and western Asia. It has escaped cultivation in United States and occurs from southern Texas to southern Arizona and California. Is present in both Death Valley and Grand Canyon National Parks. Apparently is has not naturalized, although it produces many seeds, a large proportion are sterile. It is a fire-adapted species, its high ash (30-40%) and salt content of its foliage make it hard to burn even when dry.
- aphylla: without leaves, from the Greek, a, without; phyllos, leaves)