Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Tamaricaceae or Tamarisk Family

Tamaricaceae or Tamarisk Family is a very small family with only 3 plant genera and 79 accepted species names. The largest genus in the family is Tamarix with approximately 57 species; Myricaria with 12 accepted species names and Reamuria with 10 accepted species names.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in North America, there is 1 genus, Tamarix, with 10 accepted species names.

Plants in the Tamarisk Family may be trees, shrubs and subshrubs and typical native to Europe, Asia and Africa.

Common family characteristics: Plants: include halophytes and xerophytes; plants that prefer saline and alkaline soils. Leaves: alternate, small and scale-like, leaves fit together in an over-lapping way which helps to preserve moisture in dry climates. Inflorescences: racemes. Fruit: dehiscent, capsular.

Species of economic important are few but the invasive weedy Tamarix chinensis has cost millions of dollars in riparian revegetation projects in the southwest United States.

In the southwestern United States, there are approximately 6 species in Tamaricaceae, all belonging to the genus Tamarix.

  • Tamarix chinensis, Chinese Saltcedar
  • Date Family Profile Completed: 08/31/2016
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database.[and all genera cited above - (accessed 09/15/2016).
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/15/2016).
    Gaskin, John, F., Flora of North America, Tamarisk Famil; FNA Vol. 6; 18. Tamaricaceae Link
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Tamaricaceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 July 2016, 21:06 UTC,> [accessed 17 September 2016]