Tamarix chinensis (five-stamen tamarisk)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Wood Products
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Tamarix chinensis Lour. (1790)
Preferred Common Name
- five-stamen tamarisk
Other Scientific Names
- Tamarix amurensis Hort. ex Chow (1934)
- Tamarix caspica Hort. ex Dippel (1893) nom. nud.
- Tamarix elegans Spach (1836)
- Tamarix gallica var. chinensis (Lour.) Ehrenb. (1827)
- Tamarix gallica var. narbonensis Ehrenb.
- Tamarix gallica var. subtilis Ehrenb.
- Tamarix japonica Hort. ex Dippel
- Tamarix juniperina Bge. (1833)
- Tamarix libanotica Hort. ex Koch (1869)
- Tamarix plumose Hort. ex Carr (1868) nom. nud.
- Tamarix plumose Hort. ex Lavalle (1877)
International Common Names
- English: Chinese tamarisk; salt cedar; saltcedar; tamarisk
- Spanish: pinebete
- French: tamaris à cinq étamine
Local Common Names
- China: chengliu; hongjingtiao; sanchunliu; zhongguo chengliu
- Germany: Chinesische Tamariske; Fuenfmaennige Tamariske; Sommertamariske
- Israel: ashel
- Italy: tamerice a cinque stami
- Japan: gyoryu
- TAACH (Tamarix chinensis)
- TAAJU (Tamarix juniperina)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Tamaricales
- Family: Tamaricaceae
- Genus: Tamarix
- Species: Tamarix chinensis
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Ladyman (2003) refers to recent work suggesting that T. ramosissima and T. chinensis should be considered the same, while Zouhar (2003) refers to the possible hybridization of these species in the USA.
Further details of Tamarix taxonomy can be found in the datasheet on T. ramosissima.
DescriptionTop of page
T. chinensis is a small tree or shrub, growing up to 8 m high and 30 cm d.b.h., with slender branchlets and grey-green foliage. It usually grows as a multi-stemmed shrub with red-brown to dark or blackish bark. The leaves look like scales, are 1.5-3.5 mm long and are deciduous. The flowers are tiny with five sepals, petals, stamens and a five-carpellate pistil, on a 2- to 7-cm long flower stalk. The petals are pink, white or red and 1-2.3 mm long. T. chinensis is similar to juniper or cedar in appearance. For further details, see Ladyman (2003).
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
Gaskin and Schaal (2002) comment that, although Baum (1978) and others suggest the wide occurrence of both T.chinensis and T. ramosissima across China, their genetic analyses indicated the T. ramosissima genotype exclusively west of central China and the T. chinensis genotype exclusively east of central China.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|China||Present||Native||Original citation: Zheng, 1997|
|Union of Soviet Socialist Republics||Present||Native|
|United States||Present||Introduced||Invasive||First reported: early 1800s|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
In South Africa it is a proposed category 1 weed in the north, west and eastern Cape and a proposed category 3 invader throughout the rest of the country (Henderson, 2001). Binggeli (1999) considers it a highly invasive species.
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
HabitatTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Wetlands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Deserts||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Littoral||Coastal areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The chromosome number is 2n=24 for all species of the genus so far investigated (Baum, 1978).
Gaskin and Schaal (2002, 2003) have conducted an extensive DNA comparison of many species of the genus based on field collections by Gaskin throughout most of the Tamarix distribution in the Old World, and compared them with specimens of weedy species from many locations in the western USA. Gaskin found no hybrids in the Old World, although a few records are reported in the literature.
Gaskin and Schaal (2002), using introns selected from both chloroplastic and nuclear DNA, identified a strong concentration of haplotype 2/genotype 2/2 (= T. chinensis) in eastern China; also of haplotype 1/genotype 1/1 in eastern Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan (= T. ramosissima) and with scattered populations in Georgia and Azerbaijan and in Iran and Iraq. Haplotype 7 (not identified to species) was found in eastern Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Georgia and Azerbaijan, and genotype 12/12 (also not identified to species) was found in Azerbaijan.
Gaskin and Schaal (2003) identified four invasive genetic entities of Tamarix in the USA: T. aphylla, T. parviflora, and two entities that could not be defined at the species level but represented a T. ramosissima/T. chinensis entity and a T. gallica/T. canariensis entity. They also found evidence for hybridization between T. ramosissima, T. canariensis and T. gallica and T. aphylla which adds to the confusion in identification.
A comparison with US genotypes (Gaskin and Schaal, 2002) revealed that T. ramosissima was the dominant species in Montana, Wyoming, Nevada and southern California, and with a few sites in Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona. T. chinensis was the dominant species in Texas (especially western Texas) and New Mexico, with some sites in several other states. The T. ramosissima x T. chinensis hybrid was the most common genotype in New Mexico and was common in Oklahoma, Nevada, California and Montana. The unidentified 12/12 genotype and hybrids with T. ramosissima or T. chinensis were uncommon but found in nearly all western states. Hybrids with haplotype 7 were found in Idaho.
These species/hybrid complexes usually cannot be distinguished morphologically in the field. Some species or hybrids predominate and may be the only form in some areas but in other areas several species and hybrids may occur at the same site.
Physiology and Phenology
In the USA, T. chinensis flowers from April to August (Ladyman, 2003). Further details likely to be common to the weedy deciduous saltcedars can be found in the datasheet on T. ramosissima.
This species is able to reproduce vegetatively from root suckers and from seed. Water and birds disperse the seed (Ladyman, 2003). A number of authors including Ladyman comment that the longevity of the seeds is short in humid conditions. Tamarix has a reproductive advantage over some native north American desert riparian trees and shrubs in that it can reproduce in the absence of regular seasonal flooding (Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, 2004).
T. chinensis is unable to tolerate winter temperatures below -20°C, but has been introduced into the southern Xinjiang region of China for revegetation and landscaping purposes, thus surviving severe winters.
T. chinensis is light-demanding, but has good adaptability to dry atmospheric conditions, high temperatures in the dry season and low temperatures during winter. It grows on a variety of soils, tolerating dry, waterlogged and saline-alkaline soils. The leaves have the ability to exude salt and Chinese tamarisk grown in extreme saline-alkaline soils (approximately 1% or up to 15,000 p.p.m.) can effectively reduce soil salt content (Zheng, 1978; Liu, 1991). The deep taproot and fine root system allows T. chinensis to grow well even when partially covered by sand.
In its introduced North American range, the distribution overlaps with native cottonwoods (Populus spp.), a species which is outcompeted by introduced Tamarix.
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-30|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||4||13|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||21||26|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||-5||4|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||6||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||50||1500||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
- seasonally waterlogged
Special soil tolerances
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Potential biological control agents from France have been evaluated for use in the USA (Sobhian et al., 1998). These include a defoliating weevil Coniatus tamarisci (Fornasari, 1997). Ladyman (2003) cited recent work on an Israeli mealybug Trabutina mannipara and a chinese leaf beetle Diorhaba elongata (DeLoach et al., 1996), but noted the lack of a commercial control agent for use in the USA.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
The small seeds are dispersed by water (Ladyman, 2003) and by wind.
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
Ladyman (2003) reports that birds can disperse seeds.
This tree/shrub has been widely introduced to arid areas outside its native range including North America and South Africa where it has subsequently become invasive.
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Fruits (inc. pods)||seeds|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||seeds|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Growing medium accompanying plants|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||Negative|
ImpactTop of page
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Highly mobile locally
- Has high reproductive potential
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Reduced amenity values
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Fodder/animal feed
- Boundary, barrier or support
- Erosion control or dune stabilization
- Shade and shelter
- Soil improvement
Human food and beverage
- Honey/honey flora
- Carved material
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
Wood ProductsTop of page
- Short-fibre pulp
Sawn or hewn building timbers
- Exterior fittings
- Medium density fibreboard
- Industrial and domestic woodware
- Tool handles
- Wood carvings
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.Cultural Control
Although fire is sometimes used to control this species it is not a recommended technique because the wood is difficult to burn because while cool fires may fail to kill the plant, hot fires may create bare ground that is unsuitable for indigenous species (Ladyman, 2003). See the T. ramosissima datasheet for other approaches likely to be applicable to T. chinensis.
Cutting and removal is effective only if the roots are removed or destroyed and without this, T. chinensis may be stimulated to produce new shoots (Ladyman, 2003). Cutting followed by some degree of shading (with dark plastic sheeting or by other vegetaion) has been more effective (Ladyman, 2003). See the T. ramosissima datasheet for other approaches likely to be applicable to T. chinensis.
Ladyman (2003) reports that Tamarix is 'sensitive' to herbicides and that the best treatments involve cutting followed by herbicide treatment of stumps or cut-stump/frill applications. The technique relies on the herbicide being applied within a very short time after cutting and although expensive minimizes potential impacts on non-target species. See the datasheet on T. ramosissima for more details of chemical treatments for Tamarix control.
Potential biological control agents from France have been evaluated for use in the USA (Sobhian et al., 1998). Ladyman (2003) cited recent work on an Israeli mealybug Trabutina mannipara and a Chinese leafbeetle Diorhaba elongata, but noted the lack of a commercial control agent for use in USA.
Most of the biological control research in the USA has focussed on Tamarix ramosissima (see the separate datasheet); it is likely that biocontrol agents againts this species will also be effective against T. chinensis.
ReferencesTop of page
Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, 2004. Invasive species in Sonoran desert ecosystems. http://www.desertmuseum.org/program/invasive_Riparian.html.
Barnes PL; Walker LR; Powell EA, 2004. Tamarix aphylla: A newly invasive tree in southern Nevada. Proceedings of the Ecological Society of America Meeting, Portland, Oregon, 1-6 August 2004. Abstracts, 31.
Baum B, 1968. 2. Tamarix L. In: Tutin TG, Heywood VH, Burges NA, Moore DM, Valentine DH, Walters SM, Webb DA, eds, Flora Europaea, Volume 2. Rosaceae to Umbelliferae. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 292-294.
Baum BR, 1967. Introduced and naturalized tamarisks in the United States and Canada (Tamaricaceae). Baileya, 15:19-25.
Baum BR, 1978. The Genus Tamarix. Jerusalem, Israel: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
CalEPPC, 1999. Exotic pest plant list. California Exotic Pest Plant Council, USA. http://www.caleppc.org/info/plantlist.html.
Crins WJ, 1989. The Tamaricaceae in the southeastern United States. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, 70:403-425.
DeLoach CJ, 1990. Prospects for biological control of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) in riparian habitats of the southwestern United States. Proceedings of the VII International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds Rome, Italy; Istituto Sperimentale per la Patologia Vegetale, Ministero dell'Agricoltura e delle Foreste, 307-314
DeLoach CJ; Gerling D; Fornasari L; Sobhian R; Myartseva S; Mityaev ID; Lu QG; Tracy JL; Wang R; Wang JF; Kirk A; Pemberton RW; Chikatunov V; Jashenko RV; Johnson JE; Zheng H; Jiang SL; Liu MT; Liu AP; Cisneroz J, 1996. Biological control programme against saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) in the United States of America: progress and problems. Proceedings of the 9th international symposium on biological control of weeds, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 19-26 January 1996., 253-260; 44 ref.
Fornasari L, 1997. Host specificity of Coniatus tamarisci (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) from France: potential biological control agent of Tamarix spp. in the United States. Environmental Entomology, 26(2):349-356; 31 ref.
Gagne RJ; Sobhian R; Isidoro N, 1996. A review of the genus Psectrosema (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), Old World pests of tamarix (Tamaricaceae), and description of three new species. Israel Journal of Entomology, 30:53-69.
Gaskin JF; Schaal BA, 2002. Hybrid Tamarix widespread in U.S. invasion and undetected in native Asian range. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99(17):11256-11259; 26 ref.
Helmsley ALS, 1888. Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany), 23:346.
Henderson L, 2001. Alien Weeds and Invasive Plants. Plant Protection Research Institute Handbook No. 12. Cape Town, South Africa: Paarl Printers.
Ladyman JAR, 2003. Tamarix chinensis Lour. In: Tamarisk control in southwestern United States, Weeds, 10, 332-333. http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/pdf/shrubs/Tamarix%20chinensis.pdf.
Leon GLL de; Vasquez AR; Leon GLL de; West NE, 1995. Distribution of tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) in northern Mexico.
Li ShaoZhong; Li SZ, 1996. Ecological engineering of shelter forest construction on mud seashore of north China. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology. 7(2):122-128.
Liu MT, 1991. Research on screening out saline-tolerant species in the Genus Tamarix and its afforestation trials.
Liu MT, 1995. Research and application on large scale on genus Tamarix. Gansu China: Lanzhou University, 1-340.
Luken JO; Thieret JW, 1997. Assessment and Management of Plant Invasions. New York, USA: Springer-Verlag, 324 pp.
Maki T; Pan B; Du MY; Uemura K, 1993. Effects of double line windbreaks [Tamarix chinensis] on the microclimate, sand accumulation and crop [cotton and sorghum] on arid land in Turfan [Xinjiang], China. Journal of Agricultural Meteorology, 49(4):247-255.
Rice PM, 2004. INVADERS Database System (http://invader.dbs.umt.edu). Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812-4824.
Shafroth PB; Friedman JM; Ischinger LS, 1995. Effects of salinity on establishment of Populus fremontii (cottonwood) and Tamarix ramosissima (saltcedar) in southwestern United States. Great Basin Naturalist, 55(1):58-65.
Smirnov IA, 1984. Resistance of woody plants to gases in an arid climate. Translated from Ekologiya. Soviet Journal of Ecology, 14(3):156-158.
Sudbrock A, 1993. Tamarisk control. I. Fighting back - An overview of the invasion, and a low-impact way of fighting it. Restoration and Management Notes, 11(1):31-34.
Traci C; Ceuca G; Catrina I, 1983. Aspects of the improvement and afforestation of river-marine sands of the Danube delta. [Aspects de l'amelioration et de l'afforestation des sables fluvio-marins du delta du Danube.] Bulletin de l'Academie des Sciences Agricoles et Forestieres, Romania, 12:149-154.
USDA-ARS, 2005. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx
USDA-NRCS, 2005. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov.
Westbrooks RG, 1998. Invasive plants, changing the landscape of America: Fact book. Washington DC, USA: Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW), 109 pp.
Zhang YJ; Hou WH; Hou YX, 1988. Ecological and physiological characteristics of several dune-fixing shrubs and trees in the Min-Qin district in Gansu Province. Chinese Journal of Arid Land Research, 1(4):323-333.
Zheng WanJun, 1978. Silviculture of Chinese Trees. Beijing, China: China Agriculture Press.
Zheng WJ, 1997. Forest trees of China, Vol.3. Beijing, China: China Forestry Publishing House, 3580-3585.
Zouhar K, 2003. Tamarix spp. In: Fire Effects Information System. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/.
Baum BR, 1967. Introduced and naturalized tamarisks in the United States and Canada (Tamaricaceae). In: Baileya, 15 19-25.
CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI
CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI
Crins WJ, 1989. The Tamaricaceae in the southeastern United States. In: Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, 70 403-425.
Henderson L, 2001. Alien Weeds and Invasive Plants. In: Plant Protection Research Institute Handbook No. 12, Cape Town, South Africa: Paarl Printers.
Rice PM, 2004. INVADERS Database System., Missoula, MT, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana. http://invader.dbs.umt.edu
USDA-ARS, 2005. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx
USDA-NRCS, 2005. The PLANTS Database. Greensboro, North Carolina, USA: National Plant Data Team. https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov
Westbrooks RG, 1998. Invasive plants, changing the landscape of America: Fact book., Washington DC, USA: Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW). 109 pp.
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