Tamarisk-Tamarix parviflora or Salt Cedar is a plant that is native to Eurasia and Africa. The Tamarisk that can be found at the St. Francis dam site is a deciduous shrub. If not removed, it can form dense thickets . They were brought into our area in the 1800s as a garden specimen plant. Indeed, they are quite lovely with grey-green foliage that is fern-like in appearance, and clusters of pretty pink flowers that bloom from March to September. There are 8 species in North America.
Unfortunately, Tamarisk is one of the worst invasive plants that the USA has to contend with. It transpires moisture into the air causing billions of gallons of water to be lost from our rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Long tap roots exploit our natural water sources. The plant spreads through runners, cuttings, and billions of seeds. Each flower can produce thousands of tiny seeds. Seeds can be dispersed by water and wind. It has also adapted to fire. The plant collects salt from the soil and water, and deposits it on the soil surface which is detrimental to native species and that prevents native plants from growing, eliminating competition.