Athel Pine

(Tamarix aphyllla)
Athel pine, image Neal Kramer

Status of athel pine in Tasmania

  • Athel pine is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of athel pine are prohibited in Tasmania.
  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with athel pine are laid out in the athel pine Statutory Weed Management Plan.

What does athel pine look like?

  • Athel pine is a spreading tree growing to 10 m high. The branches are pendulous (hanging) and conspicuously jointed. The leaves are thickened, grey-green scales that sheath the branchlets. The flowers are pinkish-white and arranged in spikes around 3 to 4 cm long and borne at the ends of the previous years' branches. The fruit is bell-shaped and with a hairy tuft.
  • Seeds germinate mainly in autumn. Growth is rapid and under good conditions a tree can grow 2 to 5 metres in a year. Flowering is in summer.
  • Spread is by seed. Seed is spread in flood waters and by animals and birds. Athel pine is also sometimes planted as a shade and hedge plant.
Athel pine, image Neal Kramer Athel pine, image: Neal Kramer
Image top: Athel pine closeup of branchlet and flowers.
Images above, left - right: Athel pine tree; close up of Athel pine branchlet and flowers. All images © Neal Kramer.

Impacts of athel pine

  • Athel pine is a weed of natural and pastoral areas. Athel pine secretes salt onto its leaves and the leaf litter inhibits the growth of other plants. Athel pine also competes aggressively for water and can lower the water table and drain waterholes.

Where does athel pine occur?

  • Athel pine is a native of northern Africa, the south-east Mediterranean, India and Asia. Athel pine has naturalised widely on mainland Australia.
  • Athel pine has not naturalised in Tasmania.

What you need to do

  • If you locate athel pine anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be athel pine, immediately contact contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 to report this weed.

See also
Athel Pine Statutory Weed Management Plan
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie
Weeds in Australia - Weed Management Guide

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