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Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla)
Trees Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla)
Campground shade at Death Valley National Park.

General: Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla) are tall, spindly trees with many drooping branches. Athel closely resembles Saltcedar, but Athel trees are tall compared to shrubby Saltcedars. Both were introduced into North America, but Athel Tamarisk are less invasive than Saltcedar.

Athel Tamarisk have been planted in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones.

Athel is an invasive weed. Around Las Vegas, this species is uncommon -- let's all work to make sure it stays that way. Keep an eye out for this species. Land managers are actively working to eradicate Athel, so hopefully you won't see it in too many places. Athel is on the Lake Mead NRA "Top 10 Invasive Species" list and on the Nevada State list of noxious weeds.

Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla)
Typical habitat: edge of highway in California.

Family: Tamarisk (Tamaricaceae).

Other Names: Athel tree

Plant Form: Evergreen tree with a a rounded or irregular, spreading crown of many heavy, stout branches and long, drooping twigs.

Height: 30-60 feet.

Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla)

Trunk: To 2.5 feet in diameter. Bark is thick and deeply furrowed into long ridges.

Leaves: Tiny scales 0.06 inch long, similar to saltcedar and juniper. The twigs are wiry, slender, and jointed.

Flowers: Tiny white to pink flowers.

Seeds: Many, tiny, windblown seeds.

Habitat: Desert areas, usually planted along roadways, for shade, or windbreaks.

Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla)
Stems and leaves.

Distribution: Desert areas from south Texas to southern California.

Elevation: Below sea level to 5,000 feet.

Comments: Athel Tamarisk is an introduced species native to Africa and the Middle East that was planted in desert areas as a fast-growing tree for windbreaks, shade, and as an ornamental. It has escaped cultivation, but has not naturalized and, therefore, rarely becomes a problem.

Athel produces diffuse shade, but little that benefits the habitat or wildlife.

Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla) Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla)
Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla) Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla)
Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla)
Leaves
Athel Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla)
Flowers and fruits

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 161004

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