Tamarix gallica L. (syn.: T. anglica Webb) (W-Med.) – A very rare but locally well-established escape from or (predominantly) relic of cultivation. Formerly (probably in the 1940’s) introduced on purpose in coastal dunes as a windbreak. More rarely also in inland locations, for instance in sand-raised sites near Antwerpen. Records are available, for instance, from De Panne (Sint-Idesbald), Bredene, Wenduine and Antwerpen-Linkeroever (Sint-Anna). However, Tamarix gallica is by far most abundant in coastal dunes between De Haan and Oostende. The exact identity of these populations long remained critical. They have been ascribed to Tamarix africana Poir., T. canariensis Willd. and T. gallica. These species are obviously very closely related and, as a group, easily distinguished from the others. However, they are difficult to distinguish from one another. Belgian plants are characterized by a dark reddish brown (not black) bark , raceme width ca. 5 mm, petals ca. 2 mm long, soon deciduous and sepals +/- entire. These set of characters doubtlessly most closely corresponds with Tamarix gallica. Tamarix africana has much wider racemes and petals that are longer persistent. The separation of Tamarix canariensis appears to be less easy. According to Gaskin & Schaal (2003) molecular data fail to distinguish between both species: they are either conspecific or introgressing (see also Crins 1989). Indeed, at least the paler bark of the Belgian populations (not deep purple to blackish brown as is usual in Tamarix gallica) suggests an introgression of T. canariensis.
Crins W.J. (1989) The Tamaricaceae of the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 70: 403-425. Gaskin J.F. & Schaal B.A. (2003) Molecular phylogenetic investigations of U.S. invasive Tamarix. Syst. Bot. 28(1): 86-95. Verloove F. (2002) Ingeburgerde plantensoorten in Vlaanderen. Mededeling van het Instituut voor Natuurbehoud n° 20: 227 p. Verloove F. (2006) Tamarix gallica. In: Van Landuyt W., Hoste I., Vanhecke L., Van den Bremt P., Vercruysse W. & De Beer D., Atlas van de flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest. Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Nationale Plantentuin van België en Flo.Wer: 867.