German tamarisk

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German tamarisk
German tamarisk (Myricaria germanica)

German tamarisk ( Myricaria germanica )

Nuclear eudicotyledons
Order : Clove-like (Caryophyllales)
Family : Tamarisk family (Tamaricaceae)
Genre : Panicle shrubs ( Myricaria )
Type : German tamarisk
Scientific name
Myricaria germanica
( L. ) Desv.

The German tamarisk ( Myricaria germanica ), also called Rispelstrauch or Ufer-Tamarisk, is a species of plant from the genus Rispelstäucher ( Myricaria ) within the family of the Tamarisk plants (Tamaricaceae). It is widespread in Eurasia and is the only species of the tamarisk family native to Central Europe.

Description and ecology


Appearance and leaf

The German tamarisk is an evergreen shrub and reaches heights of up to 2 meters. With its deep, distinctive root system, the German tamarisk contributes to the consolidation of the soil in its habitat.

The authors disagree on the maximum age: it is between 10 and over 70 years.

On their upright, rod-like branches sit very small, oblong to lanceolate, alternate leaves (2 to 5 millimeters long, scale-shaped, often overlap in the shape of roof tiles), which are pressed against the younger branches, but rather protrude on the older ones. The leaves are glabrous and gray-green in color.

Inflorescence and flower

Especially on the main branches there are terminal, simple or paniculate, compact racemose inflorescences . The inconspicuous flowers are hermaphroditic. The mostly five, rarely four sepals are linear with a length of about 3 millimeters. The usually five, rarely four white to light pink petals are about 4 millimeters long. of the ten stamens five are about as long as the calyx and five are slightly longer. The ten anthers are purple or red.

When the weather is favorable, pollination is carried out by insects that are attracted by nectar . In rainy weather, when the flowers remain half to completely closed, self-pollination can also occur. The flowering period extends from May to August, but it is strongly influenced by the location (especially the altitude).

Fruit and seeds

The 12 millimeter long gray-green capsule fruits are narrow, pyramidal, pointed, and often reddish.

The brown seeds weigh only 0.065 mg, they are equipped with a feather-shaped head of hair ( pappus ) 5 to 7 millimeters long and can be described as typical paragliders.

In addition to being able to fly, the seeds, similar to those of the willow, are characterized by rapid germination - in favorable cases the germination rate is 100% within 24 hours.

Chromosome set

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 24.


The German tamarisk is found in the European mountains, Asia Minor , Armenia , the Caucasus , Iran and Afghanistan . In Europe, the distribution area extends from the Pyrenees to Scandinavia and the Caspian Sea. The southern border is formed by the Pyrenees and the central Apennines, up to the Illyrian Mountains on the eastern shore of the Adriatic. The German tamarisk is limited to the middle and upper reaches of rivers in montane to subalpine altitudes up to altitudes of 2350 meters. In the Himalayas there are deposits up to an altitude of 3950 meters. In Norway, however, it has also been detected as a drift at altitudes of 630 meters.

It was introduced in New Zealand. It was first detected in 1986 on the South Island (Canterbury Plains), where it is spreading along some rivers.

The following current occurrences are given in the literature for the Alpine region:

  • In Austria , the German tamarisk occurs in the federal states of Carinthia, Salzburg, Styria and Tyrol.
  • In Germany around 1945 there were still numerous deposits on the alpine tributary rivers of the Danube and in the Berchtesgaden Alps. Most of the deposits in Bavaria are now extinct and continue to decline sharply. The Strasbourg surgeon Hieronymus Brunschwig wrote in his small distilling book in 1500 that the German tamarisk grows in the "stony waters". Near Strasbourg it grows "on the sandbanks (" green ") of the Rhine." Leonhart Fuchs added in 1543 that the German tamarisk was found "near the waters in many places in Germany, namely around the Rhine, Isar and Lech."
  • In Switzerland , the German tamarisk is still relatively common in the Engadine, but is already extinct in many cases, especially in the Central Plateau and in the lower Alpine valleys.
  • Locations in Friuli-Venezia Giulia (on the Tagliamento) and on some rivers in South Tyrol (e.g. Etsch) are known for Italy , but also in the Cottian Alps, for example in Val Pellice .
  • In Slovenia , the German tamarisk is also classified as critically endangered.

Bachmann writes in her thesis : "Myricaria is germanica in the Alps in their occurrence extremst [sic] been limited and the few places where they could hold are of European importance. The extensive populations of the German tamarisk in South Tyrol, together with those in the Tyrolean Lechtal and those in the Hinterrheintal, are among the last extensive natural occurrences of the species in Europe. "


Young plant on the Inn near Serfaus, Tyrol
Tamarisk bushes on the Inn near Pfunds, Tyrol

The German tamarisk is one of the pioneer plants that settle on newly formed gravel surfaces of the Alpine and pre-Alpine rivers. In near-natural mountain rivers, the river material is rearranged by annual floods, so that existing gravel surfaces are eroded and at the same time newly deposited elsewhere. It anchors its tap roots firmly in the subsoil and thus survives the recurring shifts. For the plants this also means an extreme situation between flooding of their habitat and drought, since gravel is very permeable to water and can therefore hardly store water. Since the shrub needs a lot of light and is easily overgrown by willows and alders, it can only persist in the long term where new sand and gravel banks are constantly emerging.

The German tamarisk is a characteristic species of the association Myricarietum Salicion elaeagni.

Myricaria germanica is one of the first plant species to settle on newly formed river alluvions. It grows scattered, mostly forming herds on gravel and gravel and sandbanks - most often in open areas that are on the one hand heavily flooded at times during high water, but on the other hand can also dry out strongly. It can also occur on railway embankments or in gravel pits if it is carried over.

The German tamarisk is quickly displaced by other species due to light competition and is therefore dependent on periodic disturbances such as flooding and shifting or the formation of new gravel banks. It is only indirectly dependent on these disturbances in that the competition between the willow species is impaired or even eliminated. Due to the complete restructuring of the river systems in the Alpine region , e.g. For example, through reservoirs and weirs , the natural transport of sediment has been reduced so much that a new formation of gravel areas is hardly possible. The habitat of the German tamarisk was so severely restricted that it no longer occurs in some areas (e.g. on the Salzach ) and is classified as endangered overall.

In the older literature it is mostly stated that the German tamarisk grows exclusively on calcareous soils and primary rock. According to more recent findings, however, it also thrives on silica-like gravel fields.

Hazard and protection

The German tamarisk is a characteristic of the wild rivers and torrents near flowing waters of Europe. Due to the restructuring of the river systems in the Alpine region in the last few centuries, the dynamic habitat was largely destroyed.

In the context of the Habitats Directive , Annex 1, the EU member states must designate special protected areas for natural habitats of community interest - including “Alpine rivers with riparian trees from Myricaria germanica” (habitat type No. 3230).

In the Red List of Germany , both the German tamarisk and Myricario-Chondrilletum and Myricarietum are listed under category 1 (“critically endangered”).

In the Austrian Red List , Myricaria germanica has status 1 (“threatened with extinction”), in the federal states of Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Vienna it already has status 0 (“eradicated, extinct or lost”). Willow-tamarisk bushes in Austria have status 1 (“threatened with complete destruction”) in the Alpine region and status 0 (“completely destroyed”) in the continental region.

The German tamarisk is classified as "potentially endangered" on the Swiss Red List .


«Tamariſcenholtz» - Myricaria germanica Hieronymus Bock 1546

The Mediterranean classics of Materia Medica ( Dioscurides , Pliny ...) recommended preparations made from tamarisk species, especially for "diseases of the spleen". At the turn of the 15th to the 16th century, this recommendation for use was also applied to preparations made from the German tamarisk by the northern European doctors. From the point of view of the humoral doctrine , "diseases of the spleen" showed up through the following symptoms: "White and louder urine, loss of appetite and vomiting of cloudy (" melancholy ") fluid, melancholy and sad body, the person is careful and has heavy dreams." As Other indications for the tamarisk have been water retention and urination disorders since ancient times .

In 1500, the Strasbourg surgeon Hieronymus Brunschwig reported in his small distilling book about tamarisks on the sandbanks of the Rhine: "... But here des da vil wachſen is the rinß in the green ..."


Tamarisk oil , similar to mountain pine oil, used to be used for inhalations and rubs.


  • J. Bachmann: Ecology and distribution of the German tamarisk (Myricaria germanica Desv.) In South Tyrol and their plant-sociological position. Diploma thesis, University of Vienna 1997.
  • Gustav Hegi : Illustrated flora of Central Europe. Volume 5, Part 1: Dicotyledones, Linaceae - Violaceae. Paul Parey Publishing House, Berlin, Hamburg 1975.
  • J. Kiem: A tamarisk deposit in the Sarntal. Ber. Bayer. Bot. Ges. 63, 139-143, 1992
  • H. Kudrnovsky: The German tamarisk (Myricaria germanica) and its FFH designation in Austria (PDF; 1.2 MB). 2005

Individual evidence

  1. K. Bohle: Distribution and frequency of rare plant communities in Vorarlberg. Part 2. Dwarf-bonsai reeds (Equiseto-Typhetum minimae) and myrtle bushes (Salici-Myricarietum) . Diploma thesis, University of Innsbruck 1987.
  2. A. Frisendahl: Myricaria germanica (L.) DESV. In: Acta Florae Sueciae. 1, 1921, pp. 265-304.
  3. N. Müller, A. Bürger: River bed morphology and floodplain vegetation of the Lech in the area of ​​the Forchach wild river landscape (Upper Lechtal, Tyrol). Association for the protection of the mountain world , 55, Munich 1990, pp. 43–74.
  4. a b Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas. 8th edition. Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5 . Page 667.
  5. ^ A b Gustav Hegi : Illustrated flora of Central Europe. Volume 5, Part 1: Dicotyledones, Linaceae - Violaceae . Paul Parey Publishing House, Berlin, Hamburg, 1975.
  6. ^ K. Prach: Vegetation Succession on River Gravel Bars across the Northwestern Himalayas, India. In: Arctic & alpine Research , Volume April 26, 1994, pp. 349-353
  7. ^ WR Sykes, PA Williams: Myricaria germanica (Tamaricaceae) wild in New Zealand. (PDF; 2.1 MB) In: New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter , Volume 55, Christchurch 1999, pp. 12-14.
  8. a b c J. Bachmann: Ecology and distribution of the German tamarisk (Myricaria germanica Desv.) In South Tyrol and their sociological position . Diploma thesis, University of Vienna, 1997.
  9. Peter Schönfelder , Andreas Bresinsky (ed.): Distribution atlas of the fern and flowering plants of Bavaria . Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart 1990.
  10. Hieronymus Brunschwig. Small distilling book. Strasbourg 1500, sheet 111v (digitized version )
  11. Leonhart Fuchs. New herbal book. Basel 1543, Chapter 194 (digitized version)
  12. Lorenz Fries . Mirror of the remedy . Grüninger, Strasbourg 1518, sheet 50v (digitized version )
  13. On the sandbanks of the Rhine
  14. Hieronymus Brunschwig , Kleines Distillierbuch , Strasbourg 1500, sheet 111v (digitized version )
  15. Pedanios Dioscurides , 1st century. De Medicinali Materia libri quinque. Translation Julius Berendes Stuttgart 1902, Book I, Cap. 116 (digitized version)
  16. Pliny the Elder , 1st century. Naturalis historia Book XXIV, § 67 68 (Chapter XLI) (digitized Latin) ( digitized edition Külb 1840–1864 German)
  17. ^ Galen , 2nd century, De simplicium medicamentorum temperamentis ac facultatibus , lib. VII, cap. XII / 28 (after Kühn 1826, vol. XII, p. 80) (digitized version)
  18. Avicenna , November 10-11. Century Canon of Medicine Book II. Simple Medicines. Revision by Andrea Alpago (1450–1521). Basel 1556, p. 312 (digitized version)
  19. Constantine the African , 11th century. Liber des gradibus simplicium = translation of Liber des gradibus simplicium by Ibn al-Jazzar . 10th century printing. Opera . Basel 1536, p. 364 (digitized version)
  20. Circa instans , 12th century, printed Venice 1497, sheet 210v (digitized version )
  21. ^ Pseudo-Serapion , 13th century, printed in Venice 1497, sheet 103r (digitized version )
  22. Ulrike Jansen. Spuria Macri. An appendix to Macer Floridus, De viribus herbarum . (Contributions to antiquity. Volume 314) De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2013. Text and translation: pp. 229–233; Comment: pp. 307-308
  23. Herbarius Moguntinus 1485, Part II, Chapter 26 (digitized version)
  24. Gart der Gesundheit , Mainz 1485, Chapter 407 (digitized version)
  25. Hortus sanitatis , Mainz 1491, chapter 466: Tamariscus domesticus (digitized version ) . Chapter 467: Tamariscus agrestis (digitized version )
  26. Hieronymus Brunschwig , Kleines Distillierbuch , Strasbourg 1500, sheet 111v (digitized version )
  27. Otto Brunfels , Herbal Book , Strasbourg 1537, p. 165 (digitized version)
  28. Leonhart Fuchs , Kräuterbuch , Basel 1543, Chapter 194 (digitized version)
  29. Hieronymus Bock , Herbal Book , Strasbourg 1546, Part III, Chapter 5 (digitized version)
  30. ^ J. Kiem: A tamarisk deposit in the Sarntal. In: Ber. Bayer. Bot. Ges. Volume 63, 1992, pp. 139-143.

Web links

Commons : German Tamarisk ( Myricaria germanica )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files