French Tamarisk

French Tamarisk

French Tamarisk - Tamarix gallica

A large shrub or small tree with wide, irregular head, the Tamarisk is one of the most typical plants of the Mediterranean coast.

The glaucous green leaves are very small and overlap each other along the branches. The pink, more rarely white, flowers are arranged in terminal inflorescences (racemes). The fruits are small pyramid-shaped pods.

As well as the Tamarix gallica, Tamarix africana also occurs in the Italian peninsular; it is very similar. but can be recognised from the former by its leaves which are longer and translucent along the edges.

The Tamerisk is widespread, especially along sandy beaches where it often takes on the role of a riparian species of sub-brackish wetland habitats (lagoons, estuaries, coastal lakes etc.).

However, the Tamarisk is also grown for ornamental purposes, so it is not unusual to come across this tree inland.

Along the Tuscan coast, is it particularly common in the Orbetello Lagoon area, at the Trappola Marshes and the Nature Reserve of the Lame di Fuori of San Rossore.

For some time the Tamarisk has been used to stave erosion of sandy ground, to consolidate coastal dunes and as windbreaks to protect crops.