Athel Pine   
Foto info
Athel Pine
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Athel Pine, Athel tamarisk • Hindi: फ़राश Farash, लाल झाड़ Lal-jhar • Sanskrit: Jhavuka, Machika • Tamil: sivappattushavukku • Telugu: ettashirisaru, ettaverusaru, farash, sarru, lal-jhau • Urdu: Farash, Gazesurkh
Botanical name: Tamarix aphylla    Family: Tamaricaceae (Tamarisk family)
Synonyms: Thuja aphylla, Tamarix articulata

Athel pine is a spreading tree to 15 m with pendulous, jointed branches. Immature trees have light grey trunks and stems. Mature trees have a thick, rough, dark grey to black bark, and grey-brown stems, and can be up to 1 m in diameter. The minute, dull green leaves superficially resemble pine tree ‘needles’. However, athel pine is misleadingly named as it is a flowering plant, not closely related to true pine trees (conifers) Its small flowers are pinkish-white without stalks, growing on 30–40 mm long spikes from the ends of the previous year’s branches. The fruit is bell shaped with a hairy tuft, and contains numerous small cylindrical seeds. The seeds have a tuft of fine hairs which assists wind dispersal. The trees have strong woody roots which penetrate and spread deeply throughout the soil. Athel pine is native to Asia and Africa.

Photographed in Garden of Five Senses, Delhi.
• Is this flower misidentified? If yes,