Athel pine

Tamarix aphylla
Family: Tamaricaceae

Growth Habit: Native to arid areas in Asia, India and Northern Africa, Athel pine made its home here in Australia in the 1930’s when it was promoted as a shade tree. The first Athel pine trees were established in Whyalla and Broken Hill.

Type of Plant: Athel pine is a flowering tree which can reach a height of 10 metres.

Flowers: Athel pine does seed but these are only viable for a short length of time.

Dispersal: Usually reproduces vegetatively from broken branches but can reproduce by seed. Dispersal occurs heavily along waterways.

Distribution: The first couple of decades Athel pine existed in Australia, its promotion as a wind break and shade tree saw distribution of this plant in the drier areas of Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. A rapid increase in numbers in Central Australia occurred after floods in the 1970’s and 1980’s. 600kms of the Finke River have been infested plus infestations have also been found on the Ross and Palmer Rivers.

Status: Athel Pine is a Weed of National Significance.

Weed Impact:

  • Sturdy tree as it can tolerate saline water
  • Causes an imbalance to biodiversity affecting fauna and flora
  • Impacting on streambed processes

Information referenced from “Northern Territory Government, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries.”