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

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Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Invasive species like tamarisk trees and phragmites, a reed that chokes out native water plants, have been rooted out. AZCentral.com, 8 Aug. 2022 Meanwhile invasive Russian olive and tamarisk trees have moved in beneath the canopy, all fire-prone species. Jim Robbins, Wired, 25 June 2022 Six years ago, workers removed invasive tamarisk trees at the site and planted a forest of native cottonwoods, willows and mesquites. Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2022 The crews then carry the buckets a quarter-mile upstream by hand, following a path feral burros have forged through thickets of tamarisk in an area that Lake Powell once covered. Zak Podmore, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Apr. 2022 Invasive tamarisk trees sprang up in thickets, forming a nonnative forest that spread aggressively. Ian James, The Arizona Republic, 3 Apr. 2021 Many of the plants are invasive, such as tamarisk and Russian thistle, but there are plenty of native willows coming back, along with 2-foot-high cottonwood seedlings, that will soon provide crucial habitat for songbirds. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 June 2021 The family also has made on-site environmental improvements to their ranch, including installing rainwater catchment systems and removing invasive tamarisk plants from the stream that runs across their land. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 June 2021 There are thousands of acres along the Gila of closely packed tamarisk. Anton L. Delgado, The Arizona Republic, 27 Aug. 2020 See More

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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Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near tamarisk

Cite this Entry

“Tamarisk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tamarisk. Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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Last Updated: 12 Aug 2022

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