Tamarisk, the name of ornamental shrubs of the genus tamarix (the ancient name, supposed to be from the river Tamaris), of a small family (tamariscineoe) closely related to the pink family. The genus belongs to the old world, and the more than 50 described species are reducible to about 20, all shrubs or small trees, with minute scale-like or awl-shaped, alternate leaves, which are appressed, and small purplish flowers in terminal spikes or racemes; the parts of the flower are in fours or fives; it has a one-celled ovary, ripening into a pod with many seeds, each of which has a small tuft of hairs. The common tamarisk (T. Galilca) is abundant on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of Europe, and, though spontaneous in England, is thought to have bean introduced there; from its slender graceful habit, and the abundant though not showy flowers, this is deserving of a place among shrubbery; in the northern states it is often killed to the ground in severe winters. T. Africana and others are oifered in the catalogues, but there is much confusion as to names.
T. mannifera of the East (regarded by some botanists as a variety of T. Gallica) is supposed by some to be the plant the manna from which fed the Hebrews. (See Manna.) Tamarisk manna is produced in small drops from the T. Gallica in Arabia, the branches having been punctured by an insect. Tamarisk galls are found upon T. orientalis, in N. W. India, and are used in India instead of oak galls.
Common Tamarisk (Tamarix Gallica).