tam·​a·​risk | \ ˈta-mə-ˌrisk How to pronounce tamarisk (audio) \

Definition of tamarisk

: any of a genus (Tamarix of the family Tamaricaceae, the tamarisk family) of deciduous large shrubs and small trees native to Asia and the Mediterranean region and widely naturalized in North America that have tiny, scalelike leaves and feathery racemes of small, white to pink flowers

Note: Tamarisks are often considered weeds in North America where they thrive especially in arid or semiarid regions.

To survive in arid areas where the groundwater is saline, tamarisks have evolved the ability to get rid of salt by pumping it out onto their leaves.— Josie Glausiusz tamarisk has been so successful that it is now the dominant plant in most desert riparian areas, blanketing more than a million acres in 15 states.— Sharon Cohoon

called also salt cedar

Examples of tamarisk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dead tamarisks can litter the ground with leaves and increase wildfire risks. Washington Post, "Tree-eating beetle gains ground in US West, raising concerns," 26 July 2019 The beetles would not be in the United States if not for the tamarisk that thrives along riverbeds. Washington Post, "Tiny beetles munch through endangered songbird habitat," 26 July 2019 Without native trees, flycatchers were left to seek new nesting sites in tamarisks. Washington Post, "Tree-eating beetle gains ground in US West, raising concerns," 26 July 2019 Tree stumps and old fence posts rise amid the creosote and waist-high tamarisk. Anne Burke, San Francisco Chronicle, "You no longer need a snorkel to see this Nevada ghost town," 30 Apr. 2018 Topping the Western Governor's terrestrial list was tamarisk, which lowers the water table and creates large deposits of salt in the soil, hence its common name of salt cedar, according to the National Invasive Species Information Center. Phil Drake, USA TODAY, "Feral cats listed among top invasive species in the West," 22 Mar. 2018 Jamison, a biologist now with the Colorado Plateau Research Station at Northern Arizona University, has long tracked the tamarisk leaf beetle through the Southwest. Katherine Mast, Discover Magazine, "The Beetle, the Bird and the Tamarisk Tree," 9 Mar. 2018 In one corner of the garden, the team came across a remarkable sight: a tamarisk shrub that stood upright, its roots and trunk still attached. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "First Evidence of Ancient Egyptian Funerary Garden Found in Luxor," 12 May 2017 Western states have spent a fortune trying to eradicate the tamarisk tree, which many experts believe hogs more than its share of water and damages the habitat of native species. Erica Goode, New York Times, "Invasive Species Aren’t Always Unwanted," 29 Feb. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tamarisk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tamarisk

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tamarisk

Middle English tamarisc, from Late Latin tamariscus, from Latin tamaric-, tamarix

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The first known use of tamarisk was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Tamarisk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tamarisk. Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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