Monday, December 19, 2011
When you look closely at the flowers of tamarisk (Tamarisk ramosissima) it is easy to understand why folks brought them to North America for their ornamental value. Eight different species have been introduced from Asia for both aesthetics and erosion control. Today, they are reviled by many, because they do very well here. So well that they have become the dominant vegetation in many river corridors of the southwest deserts. After nearly 200 years, we should probably accept that they are now a permanent member of our regional flora. But millions of dollars and thousands of hours of human effort are spent every year in an attempt to eliminate them, using chemicals, fire, insects and other weapons of mass destruction. This particular specimen, however, is a well cared-for tree growing in one of my neighbors yard, planted intentionally for its shade and beauty.