Tamarisk, salt cedar (Eng), taray, taraje, tamarisco, tamariz (Spa), gatell, tamarell, tamariu (Cat), millazkia, tamariz (Baq), tarai (Glg), tamargueira (Por).
“Note 35: And again with the damn tamarinds. The trees which populate Alderdi Eder are tamarisks. Like there is no difference or anything!”‘Años lentos’, Fernando Aramburu
The genus Tamarix is very complex and identifying the species is difficult, even for specialists. They are usually trees or very branching bushes, whose leaves are scale-shaped and arranged around the twigs like tiles on a roof. They also have the ability to secrete salts from the substrate by means of small glands shaped like papillae. The white, cream or pink flowers are small, but very showy because they bloom in numerous elongated clusters. In addition, they are very aromatic and melliferous.
According to Flora Iberica, Tamarix dalmatica Baum is found in Alicante, Murcia and Majorca, but other authors (Villar, J.L. et al., 2012) cast doubt over the presence of this species on the Iberian Peninsula. However, the non-native species T. ramosissima Ledeb. and T. chinensis Lour., used as ornamentals, have no problem naturalising in ditches, as well as the central reservation and edges of roads, and have become invasive. They are easy to spot during the spring due to their showy pink inflorescences, even though they tend to be bushy. Below are the native species found on the Iberian Peninsula:
1. Tamarix africana Poir. Very dark blackish or brownish twigs. 5-petaled flowers in clusters 5-8 mm wide, whose axis sometimes has papillae, and which grows on twigs from previous years.
2. Tamarix boveana Bunge. Brown or reddish-brown twigs. Leaves with abundant salt-secreting glands. Most of the flowers have 4 petals in clusters 8-10 mm wide.
3. Tamarix canariensis Willd. Purple or reddish-brown twigs. Leaves with abundant salt-secreting glands. 5-petaled flowers in blossom clusters less than 5 mm wide, which develop on young twigs. In addition, the axis of the cluster has papillae.
4. Tamarix gallica L. Brown or purple twigs. Leaves lacking or with few salt secreting glands. 5-petaled flowers in floral clusters less than 5 mm wide on an axis with no papillae.
5. Tamarix mascatensis Bunge. Reddish or brownish twigs. 5-petaled flowers in floral clusters 3-5 mm wide.
6. Tamarix parviflora DC. Brownish or purple twigs. Most of the flowers have 4 petals in floral clusters 4-6 mm wide.