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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Tamarix Parviflora

Author
item Deloach Jr, Culver

Submitted to: CABI Crop Protection Compendium
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 12, 2004
Publication Date: September 17, 2004
Citation: DeLoach, C.J. 2004. Tamarix parviflora. Crop Protection Compendium Database [CD-ROM]. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

Interpretive Summary: Several species of saltcedars (all in the plant genus Tamarix) have been introduced from Asia and the Mediterranean area into the semi-arid and desert areas of the western United States for use as ornamentals, and to control streambank erosion. They subsequently escaped and have become serious invasive weeds along streams and lake shores. One of these, Tamarix parviflora DC, is distinct in appearance from the others in having 4 petals and stamens, the flowers arranged more compactly along the branches, and in blooming before the foliage emerges in the spring. It is less invasive than the other weedy species but is a serious weed in central California. A biological control program is underway in California by the introduction of the leaf beetle, Diorhabda elongata from Crete, Greece. After two and half years of intensive host-range, biological and behavioral testing, in the laboratory, greenhouse and in outdoor cages, these beetles were released into the open environment near Woodland, CA during the spring of 2004. Monitoring of beetle establishment, degree of control of saltcedar, and the effects of control on environmental recovery is underway. If successful, biological control will provide a safe and cost-effective alternative to other means of reducing the abundance of this weed in California.

Technical Abstract: One species of saltcedar (Tamarix parviflora), a small tree introduced into the United States from its native range in the western Mediterranean area of southern Europe and northern Africa, is easily distinguished from the other invading saltcedar species by having 4 petals and stamens, having the flowers arranged more densely along the terminal stems, and flowers that appear in the spring before the foliage. It has escaped cultivation to become a serious weed in riparian areas of California and is established in several other southwestern states. In this chapter, we discuss its taxonomy, synonymy, and morphology; biology, ecology and habitat requirements; introduction, spread and present distribution; types and amounts of damages caused including environmental, and economic; beneficial values and uses; control methods including the biological control program in progress in the western United States; its natural enemies within its area of natural distribution; and the risks of its further introduction and spread into uninfested areas. Emphasis is placed on the damage T. parviflora causes to native plant and wildlife communities in California, and to the recent biological control program by releases of the leaf beetle, Diorhabda elongata from Crete, Greece. This chapter provides a guide to the current knowledge of all aspects of invasive T. parviflora, its taxonomy, biology and ecology, the ecosystem damages, increased wildfire hazards and loss of water resources, and control, especially of the emerging success of the ongoing biological control program.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014