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Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Trees Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Thickets (yellow-brown) along Virgin River

General: Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima) are short, spindly, many branching large shrubs or small trees with red stems, spindly gray-green leaves, and huge numbers of tiny pink flowers. Saltcedar was introduced into North America from Eurasia in the 1890s to control erosion. Saltcedar does well here, but unfortunately, it sucks huge amounts of water from the soil and thickets can dry-down small streams and springs. Saltcedar, like its relative Athel Tamarisk, produce little that benefits the habitat or wildlife, other than thick cover.

Saltcedar is a noxious weed that has become common along lakes, streams, springs, and other wet areas in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones. Saltcedar thickets crowd out native species.

Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Thicket along desert wash

Around Las Vegas, keep an eye out for this species around wet areas. Land managers are actively working to eradicate Saltcedar, but it is common everywhere. Saltcedar is the #3 "Priority Weed of Concern" in the Lower Las Vegas Wash, and it is on the Lake Mead NRA "Top 10 Invasive Species" list.

This is a State of Nevada listed noxious weed. If hikers and other visitors to the native habitats around Las Vegas see this species, please report the observation to the Nevada Department of Agriculture. If you have this species on your private property, please consider eradicating it.

Researchers have recently released a tiny Saltcedar Leaf Beetles (Diorhabda elongata) that is native to central Asia and eats only saltcedar. Adult beetles are about 8-mm long and are yellow with black stripes and spots. The larvae are striped black and yellow. Adults and larvae eat leaves, and a good infestation of beetles can kill entire stands of saltcedar -- let's all wish them well!

Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Thicket choking canyon bottom

Family: Tamarisk (Tamaricaceae).

Other Names: tamarisk, salt cedar.

Plant Form: Short, spindly, many branching tree with thin, wispy, branches and leaves, that, on close inspection, resemble juniper leaves.

Height: To about 15 (25) ft.

Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Leaves and red twigs

Trunk: Short; branches close to the ground.

Branches: Jointed, slender, often drooping

Bark: Red on younger branches; aging to gray with furrows.

Leaves: Small, blue-green, scale-like leaves similar to juniper leaves.

Flowers: Blooms April to August. Inflorescence: spike 1/2 to 2-1/2 inches. Flowers: Tiny white to pink, growing closely along the terminal branches. From a distance, the flowers look more like pink leaves than flowers.

Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)

Seeds: Tiny, hairy-tufted, thousands per tree per year.

Habitat: Washes, canyons, lake shores, riverbanks; saline soils and almost anywhere that water is available.

Elevation: To about 3,000 feet.

Distribution: Native to east Asia. Widely distributed in wash and other wet communities in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones.

Comments: Exotic species, noxious weed.

Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Saltcedar in a dry wash at Lake Mead NRA
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Leaves and flower spikes
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Leaves
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Flowers can be quiet dense
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Saltcedar along Virgin River during summer being eaten by beetles
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Saltcedar along Virgin River during summer being eaten by beetles
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Saltcedar along Virgin River during summer being eaten by beetles
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Saltcedar along Virgin River during summer being eaten by beetles
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Saltcedar during winter at Granite Spring, Gold Butte Townsite
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Saltcedar growing on granite during winter in Cedar Basin, Gold Butte
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)
Saltcedar in lower Garden Wash, Gold Butte NM
More to come
More to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 170919

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