Taxa treated:
Myricaria germanica
Tamarix parviflora
T. ramosissima
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Tamaricaceae Taxa treated:
Myricaria germanica
Tamarix parviflora
Tamarix ramosissima
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 © Flora Nordica

by Thomas Karlsson
(6b, 20071107)

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This treatment is partly outdated - the final version will appear in print.
1 Leaves (2.5-)5-11 mm; stamens 10, with connate filaments
- Leaves 1-2 mm; stames 4 or 5, free

1. Myricaria Desv.

Desvaux, Ann. Sci. Nat. 4: 349 (1825).

1. Myricaria germanica (L.) Desv.        Map

Desvaux, Ann. Sci. Nat. 4: 349 (1825). - Tamarix germanica L., Sp. pl.: 271 (1753). - Described from Germany.

D Piskeris. F pensaskanerva. Fa ***. I ***. N klåved. S klådris.

Literature. Alm 1993, Frisendahl 1921, Holmboe 1936, Ljung 2007.

Phanerophyte. Glabrous, deciduous shrub, (0.4–)0.6–2 m. Stems numerous, erect to ascending, old ones with black, rough surface, richly and irregularly branched. Long-shoots erect, straight or slightly flexuous, angular in cross section; young parts yellowish-brown, older parts dark red-brown, outer bark finally silvery-grey, peeling off in flakes. Short-shoots to 10 cm (the lowermost ones usually the longest), developing from most nodes of the long-shoots (those of the current year as well as those of the previous year), secondarily branched from most or all nodes, thereby appearing plumose. Leaves alternate, sessile, without stipules, thick, greyish-green, punctate from salt-excreting, sunken glands; leaves of long-shoots distant, borne on prominent, persistent cushions, 5–11(–13.5) mm, narrowly triangular to linear-lanceolate, acute or slightly obtuse; leaves of short-shoots closely set, 2.4–5(–7) mm, narrowly lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, obtuse.
Racemes terminal on long-shoots of the current year and on ± elongated lateral shoots on the long-shoots of the previous year, dense, spike-like, in flower 3-6 × 1.1-1.5 cm, in fruit 5.5-23 × 1.7-2.8 cm, with 20-70(-100) flowers; middle pedicels 1.4-3.6 mm. Bracts (4-)5.2-10(-12.4) mm, lanceolate to ovate, acute to obtuse, their basal part with scarious borders which are sometimes strongly widened and dentate. Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic, pentamerous (occasionally tetramerous). Sepals (3.2-)3.6-5.8(-6.8) mm, narrowly lanceolate, acute, with a narrow scarious border, sometimes strongly red-tinged at the very base. Petals pink, narrowly oblanceolate to broadly linear, obtuse, 4-4.9(-5.9) × 1.5-1.8(-2) mm, slightly shorter to slightly longer than the sepals, persistent in fruit. Stamens (7-)10, slightly unequal, longest ones (2.1-)2.9-3.8 mm; filaments united to the middle; anthers globose, 0.4-0.7 mm. Disc absent. Ovary superior, formed by 3 (rarely 4) carpels, trigonous (rarely tetragonous), slightly contracted toward the apex; stigma cushion-like, sessile. Fruit a loculicidal capsule, narrowly pyramidal, greyish blue with grey-green top, 9-12.5 mm, opening with 3(-4) valves. Seeds numerous, obovoid, flattened, yellow, 0.8-1.5 × 0.3-0.4 mm, with an apical tuft of long, simple, unicellular hairs which are united at the base. - Late spring to late summer.
2n=24 (N ST). - [2n=24]
Distribution. (Nem-)SBor-NBor. Alt. N Op 1000 m. - D only known from man-made sites: Sjæ Amager 1899, Hedehusene (sand pit) 1977–95, København (Sankt Jørgens sø, lowered lake) 1858–59, Peberholm (artificial island) 2002. N native; scattered from northwestern and northern He and Bu Lier (casual in natural habitat) and Ringerike northwards and westwards to Ho Ulvik 1882 (probably casual), SF Lærdal, Vik and Luster and MR Rauma and Sunndal; scattered to fairly common in ST and NT; SNo Rana, NNo Saltdal, Beiarn, Fauske and Bodø; scattered in Tr and VFi; ØFi Lebesby, Tana and Sør-Varanger; a late incomer in gravel pits in Øf Eidsberg and Trøgstad (since 1999) and Ak Skedsmo (1984). S native at the rivers Indalsälven (Jmt, Mpd) and Ångermanälven (Jmt, Ång) and their tributaries; in this area also several secondary localities. A late incomer in Sk (6 localities, first Ringsjön 1884–1918, latest Ivö 1966), Öl several localities in the northern part, possibly established in Böda (Tokenäs, seashore; known since 1946), Gtl Lau c. 1980, Träkumla 1977, Klm Djursdala (Solaren, lowered lake) 1957–c. 1990, BhG Valla (Vallhamn) 2004 (ruderal ground), Ög Tåkern (lowered lake) 1877–1965, Hällestad (Borggård) 1910, Vrm Norra Finnskoga (Höljåsen) c. 1990, Upl Börstil 1981 (gravel pit), Dlr Särna (forest road), 1 shrub 1983–2003, Hrj Hede since1983 (declining; ruderal ground at regulated lake), Vb Norsjö 1999 (dried-out river bottom), ÅsL Dorotea 1993 (gravel-pit), Vilhelmina 1996–2003 (possibly native), and LyL Malå 1993 (new channel); it is unknown whether these occurrences are due to long-distance dispersal from natural habitats or from gardens. F native; northernmost InL (northeastern Utsjoki, lower courses of the rivers Pulmankijoki and Lokkajoki and the shores of the lake Pulmankijärvi between the outlets of the two rivers); unconfirmed record from EnL Enontekiö 1949.
Outside Norden in the mountains of C Europe and SW Asia, and in the Himalaya.
Habitat. A light-demanding pioneer of unstable, open, wet habitats. Mainly along rivers, typically on gravelly or sandy, temporarily flooded river-bars (especially on their leeward side); more rarely on moraine deposits at glaciers, solifluction slopes and lake-shores, very rarely on pebbly sea-shores. Secondarily on man-made open ground as road embankments, dams at hydroelectric power stations, gravel-pits and shores of lowered lakes, usually disappearing when the vegetation closes. Extinct or strongly declining in some river systems because of damming and regulation for hydroelectric power; temporarily expanding in river-beds laid bare by exploitation. – Grown for ornament, although rarely; possibly a garden escape in some few of the cited localities.
Biology. The plumose lateral shoots are assimilatory and are shed in late autumn; biologically they are thus equivalent to compound leaves. The apical parts of the long-shoots die off but remain on the shrub (giving it an untidy appearance) whereas their lower and middle parts persist; the next year’s shoots develop from lateral buds on these parts. The flowering period is fairly long: inflorescences on lateral shoots develop in late spring and continue to flower into early summer, those terminating long-shoots start flowering in mid-summer and continue into late summer. In Norden the species is mainly self-pollinated; seed set is very good. The seeds are wind-dispersed and long-distance dispersal is evidently efficient (specimens often occur in isolated localities). The seed-coat is extremely thin. The seeds can germinate on moist soil directly after release, and throughout the vegetation period; they appear to lose their viability fairly rapidly. Being a colonist, M. germanica has a rapid development (plants may flower already in their second year) and a short life-span (the oldest known specimen was c. 70 years, but most specimens vanish much earlier due to habitat changes). In riverine habitats germination only occurs on bare, wet soil close to the water level, and most of the seedlings do not survive the spring flood of the next year (established plants, on the contrary, have a marked ability to resist flooding). Higher up on the shore the shrubs sooner or later die off because the ground becomes drier and shrubs of Salix and Alnus establish. As an exception, in N He Tynset and Åmot M. germanica grows in stabilized, light-open pine forest on river gravel (Often 2002).
Variation. Bract shape is fairly variable. Specimens with very long bracts protruding from the inflorescence occur rarely throughout the distribution area and probably represent occasional aberrations (or environmental modifications).

2. Tamarix L.

Linnaeus, Sp. pl.: 270 (1753).

Literature. Baum 1978.

Glabrous, deciduous shrubs. Leaves alternate, needle-like with slightly widened base, soft, closely set on young shoots.
Flowers bisexual, small, more or less campanulate, in dense, sessile, spike-like racemes along the shoots. Bracts single, leaf-like, entirely herbaceous or ± membranous. Sepals 4 or 5, triangular to ovate. Petals 4 or 5, pink, ovate to oblanceolate, often persistent in fruit. Stamens 4 or 5, opposite the sepals, free from each other but sometimes connate with the ± nectariferous disc. Ovary superior, pyramidal, trigonous; styles 3, short. Fruit a loculicidal capsule opening with 3 valves. Seeds with an apical, sessile tuft of long, simple hairs.
Chromosome base-number x=12.
Hybridization. Hybridization is not documented among species within their native ranges, but in garden material and in populations in western North America, where taxa of Tamarix are strongly invasive (Gaskin & Schaal 2002, 2003), there is increasing evidence of hybridization. This especially concerns the two closely related species T. chinensis and T. ramosissima, which are both cultivated also in Norden.
Identification. Taxa of Tamarix are difficult to determine. Dissection of flowers is needed to study the disc and the insertion of stamens. Shape and size of bracts, pedicels, sepals and petals are partly diagnostic but also vary within species, even between inflorescences on the same plant. Vegetative material is not possible to determine, not even to species group.
Tamarix parviflora DC. 1828. D. F. Fa. I. N. S junitamarisk. - Racemes c. 5 mm wide (in flower). Flowers tetramerous. Sepals c. 1.5 mm, denticulate. Petals c. 2 mm. Disc completely fused to the stamens, appearing only as slightly widened filament bases. [2n=24]
Grown for ornament in D and southern S, very rarely escaped. D SJy Årø 1989 (seashore). S Klm Ljungby 2006 (tip). – The E Mediterranean; Turkey; introduced (and invasive) in SW USA. - Map (not in the book).
Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb. 1829. D. F. Fa. I. N høsttamarisk. S hösttamarisk. - Racemes 4–5 mm wide (in flower). Flowers pentamerous. Sepals 0.5–1 mm, finely and irregularly serrate to erose. Petals 1–1.8 mm, obovate. Disc forming five emarginate lobes alternating with the stamens; stamens arising from below the disc.
Grown for ornament in D and southern S, rarely escaped. S Sk Torekov 1951 (tip). - From Turkey to Korea; introduced (and invasive) in W USA. - Map (not in the book).
T. ramosissima ‘Rosea’ (S rosentamarisk) was reported from S Sk Bunkeflo (Kraft 1987, under the synonymous name T. pentandra) and Klm Ljungby 2002 (Ekman & Ekman 2002); however, there is no voucher for the record from Sk, and the single shrub in Klm was not flowering and thus impossible to determine (material of T. parviflora has later been collected from the same locality).
Unverified records. Tamarix gallica L. 1753 (D Fransk Tamarisk, S fransk tamarisk) has pentamerous flowers and a disc completely fused to the stamens, appearing only as slightly widened filament bases. This SW European species is probably not cultivated in Norden but in horticulture its name has been misapplied to T. chinensis. - T. gallica was reported from S Sk Malmö (Blom 1933) but the specimen, collected in 1921, is not flowering and thus undeterminable. Likewise, vegetative material from D Sjæ Kastrup 1942 and Sorø 1961 was labelled ”T. gallica” by the collector.
Tamarix chinensis Lour. 1790 (S kinesisk tamarisk) is close to T. ramosissima but has broader racemes (5-7 mm in flower), longer bracts and pedicels, larger (0.7-1.8 mm) and more entire sepals, and ovate to elliptical petals; some of the stamens in each flower may arise from the edge of the disc instead of from below the disc. T. chinensis, native to Mongolia, China and southern Japan, is grown for ornament in D and southern S. It was stated by Karlsson (1998) to occur in S, but the voucher is not flowering and thus not possible to determine.
Finally, an undetermined species of Tamarix was found in S Gtl Visby 1999 (Larsson 1991).

References To top

Alm, T. 1993: Floraen i Finnmark. 8. Tamariskfamilien (Tamaricaceae). Polarflokken 17: 115-118.
Baum, B.R. 1978: The genus Tamarix. Israel Academy of Science and Humanities, Jerusalem.
Blom, C. 1933: Bidrag till Skånes adventiv- och ruderatflora. Bot. Notiser 1933: 355-366.
Ekman, J. & Ekman, G. 2002: Några småländska växtfynd. Parnassia 15(2): 8-9.
Frisendahl, A. 1921: Myricaria germanica (L.) Desv. Acta Florae Sueciae 1: 267-304.
Gaskin, J.F. & Schaal, B.A. 2002: Hybrid Tamarix widespread in U.S. invasion and undetected in native Asian range. Proc. National Acad. Sci. USA 99(17): 11256-11259.
Gaskin, J.F. & Schaal, B.A. 2003: Molecular phylogenetic invstigation o U.S. invasive Tamarix. Syst. Bot. 28(1): 86-95.
Holmboe, J. 1936: Om ”Hærbúa” og dens forekomst ved elvene i Trøndelag i sagatiden. Svensk Bot. Tidskr. 30: 551-564.
Karlsson, T. 1998: Förteckning över svenska kärlväxter. Svensk Bot. Tidskr. 91: 241-560.
Kraft, J. 1987: Falsterbohalvöns flora. Växterna vid kusten mellan Malmö och Trelleborg. Lunds botaniska förening.
Larsson, B. 1991: Bingeby, ett stycke Gotland. Rindi 11: 33-38.
Ljung, T. 2007: Åtgärdsprogram för klådris 2007–2010 (Myricaria germanica). Naturvårdsverket. Rapport 2700.
Often, A. 2002: Klåved Myricaria germanica i lavfuruskog. Blyttia 60: 56-57.