Tamarix

The genus Tamarix (tamarisk, salt cedar, taray) is composed of about 50–60 species of flowering plants in the family Tamaricaceae, native to drier areas of Eurasia and Africa.[2] The generic name originated in Latin and may refer to the Tamaris River in Hispania Tarraconensis (Spain).[3]

Tamarix
Tamarix aphylla.jpg
Tamarix aphylla in its natural habitat in Revivim, Israel
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Tamaricaceae
Genus: Tamarix
L.[1]
Species

See text

DescriptionEdit

They are evergreen or deciduous shrubs or trees growing to 1–18 m (3.3–59.1 ft) in height and forming dense thickets. The largest, Tamarix aphylla, is an evergreen tree that can grow to 18 m (59 ft) tall. They usually grow on saline soils, tolerating up to 15,000 ppm soluble salt, and can also tolerate alkaline conditions.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

The leaves are scale-like, almost like that of junipers,[4] 1–2 mm (1/20" to 1/10") long, and overlap each other along the stem. They are often encrusted with salt secretions.[citation needed]

The pink to white flowers appear in dense masses on 5–10 cm (2" to 4") long spikes at branch tips from March to September, though some species (e.g., T. aphylla) tend to flower during the winter.[citation needed]

EcologyEdit

Tamarix aphylla can spread both vegetatively, by submerged stems producing adventitious roots, and sexually, by seeds. Each flower can produce thousands of tiny (1 mm; 1/20" 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.[5] Tamarisk trees are most often propagated by cuttings.[citation needed]

These trees grow in disturbed and undisturbed streams, waterways, bottom lands, banks, and drainage washes of natural or artificial water bodies, moist rangelands and pastures.[citation needed]

It is unclear if Tamarix species are fire-adapted, but in many cases a large proportion of the trees are able to resprout from the stump after fires, although not notably more so than other riverine species. They likely cannot resprout from root suckers. In some habitats where they are native, wildfire appears to favour the establishment of riverine trees such as Populus, to the detriment of Tamarix. Conversely, they do appear to be more flammable, with more dead wood produced and debris held aloft. In the southwestern USA, most stands studied appear to be burning at faster intervals than they can fully mature and die of natural causes.[6]

Tamarix species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora asthenella which feeds exclusively on T. africana.[7]

UsesEdit

  • Tamarisk species are used as ornamental shrubs, windbreaks, and shade trees:[8] notably T. ramosissima[9] and T. tetrandra.[10]
  • The wood was used by the Saka (combined with wood and ibex horn) to produce tremendously powerful bows hundreds of years before the common era.[11]
  • The wood may be used for carpentry or firewood: it is a possible agroforestry species[12][13]
  • Plans are being made for the tamarisk to play a role in antidesertification programs in China[14][15]

Invasive speciesEdit

Tamarix ramosissima has naturalized and become an important invasive plant species in specific riparian habitats in the Southwestern United States and California.[6] Many assumptions of Tamarix ramosissima impact have been addressed by recent scientific investigations, which have generally concluded that the largest impact to Southwestern US riparian ecosystems is the alteration of the flood regime by large dams.[16]

Suspected competitive advantageEdit

Because it is much more efficient at both obtaining water from drying soil and conserving water during drought, it can outcompete many native species, especially after the habitat is altered by controlling flood regimes and disturbance of water sources. Because the trees are able to concentrate salts on the outside of their leaves, dense stands of the tree will form a layer of high salinity on the topsoil as the leaves are shed. Although this layer is easily washed off during flooding events, in areas where the rivers are channelled and floods are controlled, this salty layer inhibits the germination of a number of native plants.[6]

In a 2013 study which examined if native plant growth was hindered by the microbiota associated with the presence of Tamarix, a relatively new invasive plant to the northern United States, Elymus lanceolatus and other native plants in fact grew better when a small soil sample from areas where Tamarix trees grew was mixed in with the potting soil, as opposed to samples without these plants. This was thought to indicate the presence of beneficial mycorrhizae. The presence of Tamarix plants has also been shown to boost soil fertility in a number of studies, and it also increases soil salinity. Two studies found that Tamarix plants are able to limit the recruitment of Salix and Populus tree species, in the latter case possibly due to interfering with the trees ability to form symbiotic relationships with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, in contrast to the grass and legume species studied in 2013.[17]

Investigation of effects of invasionEdit

Tamarix species are commonly believed to disrupt the structure and stability of North American native plant communities and degrade native wildlife habitat, by outcompeting and replacing native plant species, salinizing soils, monopolizing limited sources of moisture, and increasing the frequency, intensity, and effect of fires and floods. While individual plants may not consume larger quantities of water than native species,[18][19] large, dense stands of tamarisk do consume more water than equivalent stands of native cottonwoods.[20] An active and ongoing debate exists as to when the tamarisk can out-compete native plants, and if it is actively displacing native plants or it just taking advantage of disturbance by removal of natives by humans and changes in flood regimens.[21][22][23][24][25]

Research on competition between tamarisk seedlings and co-occurring native trees has found that the seedlings are not competitive over a range of environments,[26][27][28] but stands of mature trees effectively prevent native species' establishment in the understory, due to low light, elevated salinity, and possibly changes to the soil biota.[29][30] Box elder (Acer negundo, a native riparian tree) seedlings survive and grow under higher-shade conditions than Tamarix seedlings, and mature Tamarix specimens die after 1–2 years of 98% shade, indicating a pathway for successional replacement of Tamarix by box elder.[31] Anthropogenic activities that preferentially favor tamarisk (such as changes to flooding regimens) are associated with infestation.[32][33][34] To date, Tamarix has taken over large sections of riparian ecosystems in the western United States that were once home to native cottonwoods and willows,[35][36][37][38] and are projected by some to spread well beyond the current range.[39]

ControlsEdit

Pest populations of tamarisk in the United States can be dealt with in several ways. The National Park Service has used the methods of physically removing the plants, spraying them with herbicides, and introducing northern tamarisk beetles (Diorhabda carinulata) in the national park system. This has been done in the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado, along the Green and Yampa Rivers, during the summers of 2006 and 2007.[40] After years of study, the USDA Agricultural Research Service found that the introduced tamarisk beetles eat only the tamarisk, and starve when no more tamarisk is available, not eating any other plants native to North America.[41]

Selected speciesEdit

 
Tamarix gallica in flower
 
A Tamarix aphylla specimen in its natural habitat in Algeria
 
Tamarix in Ateybeh Village, Boushehr, Iran

Formerly placed hereEdit

Tamarisk in North AmericaEdit

The tamarisk was introduced to the United States as an ornamental shrub, a windbreak, and a shade tree in the early 19th century. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, tree-planting was used as a tool to fight soil erosion on the Great Plains, and different trees were planted by the millions in the Great Plains Shelterbelt, including salt cedars.[43][44]

Eight species are found in North America. They can be divided into two subgroups:[5]

Evergreen species

Tamarix aphylla (Athel tree), a large evergreen tree, does not sexually reproduce in the local climate and is not considered a seriously invasive species.[5] The Athel tree is commonly used for windbreaks on the edge of agricultural fields and as a shade tree in the deserts of the Southwestern United States.[45]

Deciduous species

The second subgroup contains the deciduous tamarisks, which are small, shrubby trees, commonly known as "saltcedars". These include T. pentandra, T. tetrandra, T. gallica, T. chinensis, T. ramosissima and T. parviflora.[5]

Cultural historyEdit

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh's mother, the goddess Ninsun, ceremoniously bathes in a bath of "tamarisk" and soapwort before allowing Gilgamesh and Enkidu to begin their conquest.[citation needed]

In the Iliad 10.466 Odysseus and Diomedes hide the spoils of Dolon in a tamarisk tree (Greek: μυρίκη).

In the Iliad 21.18 Achilles leaves his spear aside among the tamarisks by the banks of the river Xanthus.

In Genesis 21:33, Abraham is recorded to have "planted a tamarisk at Beer-sheba".[46] He had built a well there, earlier.[47] In 1 Samuel 22:6, Saul is sitting under a tamarisk tree on a hill at Gibeah when he learns that David has returned to Judah.[47]

In 1 Samuel 31:13, Saul's bones are buried under a tamarisk tree in Jabesh.[47]

In Shahnameh, only a tamarisk arrow to the eye can wound the otherwise invincible Prince Esfandiar.[citation needed]

In the Quran 34:16, the people of Saba were punished when "[Allah] converted their two garden (rows) into gardens producing bitter fruit and tamarisks...".

In Egyptian mythology, the body of Osiris is hidden for a time in a tamarisk tree in Byblos, until it was retrieved by Isis. A reference to this is also made in the computer game, Age of Mythology, in which the head of Osiris is said to be hidden inside the trunk of a great tamarisk tree.[citation needed]

Wedgwood made a "Tamarisk" China pattern.[48]

According to the New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, the tamarisk plant is a favorite of the Greek god Apollo.[citation needed]

The tamirisk features heavily in Paolo Bacigalupi's short story, "the Tamarisk Hunter." The story depicts a man in a drought-stricken near future who uproots and collects tamarisk plants in exchange for state-paid bounties. The story is collected in Bacigalupi's short story collection, Pump Six.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Genus: Tamarix L." Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1998-04-28. Retrieved 2011-02-18.
  2. ^ Baum, Bernard R. (1978), "The Genus Tamarix", The Israel Academy of Science and Humanities
  3. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000), CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names, 4 R–Z, Taylor & Francis US, p. 2628, ISBN 978-0-8493-2678-3
  4. ^ Dirr, Michael A. (1997), Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs, an illustrated encyclopedia, p. 392.
  5. ^ a b c d "Invasives Database: Invasive Plants, Tamarix aphylla, Athel tamarisk". Texas Invasive.
  6. ^ a b c Zouhar, Kris. 2003. Tamarix spp. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.
  7. ^ "Coleophora asthenella". Plant Parasites of Europe. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Invasive Species Profile: Tamarisk". Channel Islands Restoration. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  9. ^ Zouhar, Kris. 2003. Tamarix spp. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.
  10. ^ "Tamarisk Shrub". www.best4hedging.co.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  11. ^ Karpowicz, Adam; Selby, Stephen (2010). "Scythian Bow From Xinjang" (PDF). Journal of the Soc. Of Archer-Antiquaries. 53.
  12. ^ Tamarix aphylla, in Ecocrop.
  13. ^ Abigail Klein Leichman (November 7, 2011). "Growing forests in the desert". israel21c.org.
  14. ^ Tree by Tree, China Rolls Back Deserts.
  15. ^ Taklamakan – Where Oil and Water Don't Mix.
  16. ^ Wolf, E. (June 6, 2016). "Science driving a new management strategy for Tamarix".
  17. ^ Lenhoff EA, Menalled FD (2013). "Impacts of Tamarix-mediated soil changes on restoration plant growth". Applied Vegetation Science. 16 (3): 438–447.
  18. ^ Anderson, B. W. (1996). "Salt cedar, revegetation and riparian ecosystems in the Southwest". Proceedings of the California Exotic Pest Plant Council, Symposium '95. California Exotic Pest Plant Council, Pacific Grove, California: 32–41..
  19. ^ Anderson, B. W. (1998). "The case for salt cedar". Restoration and Management Notes. 16: 130–134, 138.
  20. ^ Sala, Anna; Smith, Stanley D.; Devitt, Dale A. (August 1996). "Water Use by Tamarix Ramosissima and Associated Phreatophytes in a Mojave Desert Floodplain". Ecological Applications. 6 (3): 888–898. doi:10.2307/2269492. JSTOR 2269492.
  21. ^ Cooper, D.; Merritt, David M.; Andersen, Douglas C.; Chimner, Rodney A. (1999). "Factors Controlling the Establishment of Fremont Cottonwood Seedlings on the Upper Green River, USA". Regulated Rivers: Research & Management. 15 (5): 419–440. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.208.7367. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1646(199909/10)15:5<419::AID-RRR555>3.0.CO;2-Y.
  22. ^ Cooper, D.; Andersen, Douglas C.; Chimner, Rodney A. (2003). "Multiple pathways for woody plant establishment on floodplains at local to regional scales". Journal of Ecology. 91 (2): 182–196. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2745.2003.00766.x.
  23. ^ Everitt, B. L. (1980). "Ecology of saltcedar - a plea for research". Environmental Geology. 3 (2): 77–84. Bibcode:1980EnGeo...3...77E. doi:10.1007/BF02473474. S2CID 128624735.
  24. ^ Everitt, B. L. (1998). "Chronology of the spread of Tamarisk in the central Rio Grande". Wetlands. 18 (4): 658–668. doi:10.1007/BF03161680. S2CID 33405892.
  25. ^ Stromberg, J. C. (1998). "Functional equivalency of saltcedar (Tamarix chinensis) and Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii) along a free-flowing river". Wetlands. 18 (4): 675–686. doi:10.1007/BF03161682. S2CID 6443419.
  26. ^ Sher, Anna A.; Marshall, Diane L.; Gilbert, Steven A. (2000). "Competition between native Populus deltoides and invasive Tamarix ramosissima and the implications of reestablishing flooding disturbance". Conservation Biology. 14 (6): 1744–1754. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2000.99306.x.
  27. ^ Sher, A.A.; Marshall, D.L.; Taylor, J.P. (June 2002). "Establishment patterns of native Populus and Salix in the presence of invasive, non-native Tamarix". Ecological Applications. 12 (3): 760–772. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(2002)012[0760:eponpa]2.0.co;2.
  28. ^ Sher, A. A.; Marshall, D. L. (2003). "Competition between native and exotic floodplain tree species across water regimes and soil textures". American Journal of Botany. 90 (3): 413–422. doi:10.3732/ajb.90.3.413. PMID 21659134.
  29. ^ Busch, David E.; Smith, Stanley D. (1995). "Mechanisms associated with decline of woody species in riparian ecosystems of the southwestern U.S". Ecological Monographs. 65 (3): 347–370. doi:10.2307/2937064. JSTOR 2937064.
  30. ^ Taylor, J.; McDaniel, K. (1998). "Restoration of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.)-infested floodplains on the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge". Weed Technology. 12 (2): 345–352. doi:10.1017/S0890037X0004392X.
  31. ^ Dewine, J. M.; Cooper, D. J. (April 2008). "Canopy shade and the successional replacement of tamarisk by native box elder". Journal of Applied Ecology. 45 (2): 505–514. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2007.01440.x. ISSN 1365-2664.
  32. ^ Shafroth, Patrick; Stromberg, Juliet; Patten, Duncan (2000). "Woody riparian vegetation response to different alluvial water table regimes" (PDF). Western North American Naturalist. 60: 66–76.
  33. ^ Merritt, David M.; Cooper, David J. (2000). "Riparian vegetation and channel change in response to river regulation: A comparative study of regulated and unregulated streams in the Green River Basin, USA". Regulated Rivers: Research and Management. 16 (6): 543–564. doi:10.1002/1099-1646(200011/12)16:6<543::AID-RRR590>3.0.CO;2-N.
  34. ^ Horton, J. L.; Kolb, T. E.; Hart, S. C. (2001). "Responses of riparian trees to interannual variation in ground water depth in a semi-arid river basin". Plant, Cell and Environment. 24 (3): 293–304. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.208.6920. doi:10.1046/j.1365-3040.2001.00681.x.
  35. ^ Christensen, E. M. (1962). "The Rate of Naturalization of Tamarix in Utah". American Midland Naturalist. 68 (1): 51–57. doi:10.2307/2422635. JSTOR 2422635.
  36. ^ Stromberg, J. C. (1998). "Dynamics of Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii) and saltcedar (Tamarix chinesis) populations along the San Pedro River, Arizona". Journal of Arid Environments. 40 (2): 133–155. Bibcode:1998JArEn..40..133S. doi:10.1006/jare.1998.0438.
  37. ^ Zamora-Arroyo F, Nagler PL, Briggs M, Radtke D, et al. (2001). "Regeneration of native trees in response to flood releases from the United States into the delta of the Colorado River, Mexico". Journal of Arid Environments. 49 (1): 49–64. Bibcode:2001JArEn..49...49Z. doi:10.1006/jare.2001.0835.
  38. ^ Zavaleta, E. (December 2000). "The economic value of controlling an invasive shrub". AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment. 29 (8): 462–467. doi:10.1639/0044-7447(2000)029[0462:tevoca]2.0.co;2.
  39. ^ Morisette JT, Jarnevich CS, Ullah A, Cai W, et al. (2006). "A tamarisk habitat suitability map for the continental United States". Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 4 (1): 11–17. doi:10.1890/1540-9295(2006)004[0012:ATHSMF]2.0.CO;2.
  40. ^ "Our newest weed warriors" (PDF). Dinosaur National Monument, National Park Service (Press release). U.S. Department of the Interior. 8 January 2009. — describes saltcedar controls, incl. 2006–2007 release of tamarisk beetles into Dinosaur National Monument.
  41. ^ Tracy, J.L.; Robbins, T.O. (2009). "Taxonomic revision and biogeography of the Tamarix-feeding Diorhabda elongata (Brullé, 1832) species group (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Galerucinae: Galerucini) and analysis of their potential in biological control of Tamarisk" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2101: 1–152. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.2101.1.1.
  42. ^ a b "GRIN Species Records of Tamarix". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-02-18.
  43. ^ Johnson, Kirk (December 26, 2008). "War With Riverbank Invader, Waged by Muscle and Munching". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  44. ^ "Saltcedar_USDA National Agricultural Library".
  45. ^ Sharma, U., Kataria, V., & Shekhawat, N. S. (2017) Aeroponics for adventitious rhizogenesis in evergreen haloxeric tree Tamarix aphylla (L.) Karst.: influence of exogenous auxins and cutting type. Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants, 24(1):167–174 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12298-017-0493-0
  46. ^ The KJV has the word 'grove', but the NKJV has 'tamarisk'. The Hebrew word is different from that translated as 'grove' elsewhere in the KJV Old Testament.
  47. ^ a b c Tyndale New Living Translation.[full citation needed]
  48. ^ "Wedgwood, Tamarisk | Replacements, Ltd". www.replacements.com. Retrieved 31 May 2021.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit