Salt cedar, also commonly known as tamarisk, is a deciduous or evergreen shrub or small tree that can range from 5 to 25 feet tall. Tamarisk was introduced from Eurasia and may live 50 to 100 years. It has a wide range of tolerance to saline and alkaline soil and water.
It copes with high concentrations of dissolved solids by absorbing them through its roots and excreting salts through glands in its stem and leaves. The excreted salts eventually form a saline crust on the soil.
A single plant of salt cedar will use about 200 gallons of water per day while it is actively growing. The bark on the saplings and stems is reddish-brown. Leaves are small and scale-like, on highly branched slender stems. Ramosissima flowers are five-petaled and pink to white. Parviflora flowers are four-petaled.
Tamarisk is widespread in riparian areas throughout Garfield County, as well as along the Colorado River from Glenwood Canyon to the Mesa County Line.