Salt Cedar
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Salt Cedar
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Salt Cedar
Botanical name: Tamarix ramosissima    Family: Tamaricaceae (Tamarisk family)
Synonyms: Tamarix altaica, Tamarix eversmannii, Tamarix odessana

Salt Cedar is an arching shrub 1-5 in tall, with reddish stems. Leaves are tiny scale-like, stalkless, ovate or triangular heart-shaped, 2-4 mm long, 1-2 mm broad pointed, somewhat stem-clasping. This is an unusual plant because it features fine-textured, juniper-like foliage, but is neither evergreen nor coniferous. The pale pink to white flowers are small, perfect and regular, and arranged in numerous spike-like racemes 1-5 cm long. The distinct petals and sepals occur in fours or fives. Bracts are ovate, triangular 1.5-2 mm long, 0.5 mm broad, acute, long-pointed with toothed margin especially in their lower parts. Capsule is trigonous, 4-5 mm long, 0.75-1 mm broad, splitting open by 3 longitudinal slits. Salt Cedar is found on riversides, river valleys, sandy or clayey salty plains, sand dunes in Korea, China, Mongolia, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In India it is seen in Ladakh. It may look deceptively similar to Athel Pine, but can be distinguished by it leaves. Athel Pine appears to be almost leafless. Flowering: May-September.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Nubra Valley, Ladakh.
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