Family comprised of 3 genera and around 80 species of trees and shrubs, rarely herbs, distributed throughout temperate regions around the globe, but most specifically along the southern Palearctic region. In North Africa it is represented by 2 genera, Tamarix L., consisting of about 15 species of trees and shrubs, and Reaumuria L., with 2-4 subshrubs species.
From the latter, the largest and tallest of species is R. vermiculata L. (Ara. Egypt: Molleih) up to 60(80) cm, with a woody base and upright branches, herbaceous, whitish (due to usually being covered in salt). In addition to being smaller size, it differs from the species of the genus Tamarix by its larger linear leaves, semicylindrical, and fleshy, and by white flowers, much larger, solitary and terminal, not in lateral racemes. It grows on saline soils along the eastern Mediterranean, reaching to the vicinity of Figuig in the northern Sahara, on the eastern edge of Morocco. The other species are subshrubs of just 40 cm in height, R. alternifolia (Labill.) Britten, R. hirtella Jaub. & Spach. and R. negevensis Zohary & Danin, the 3 species of eastern Mediterranean Distribution.
Key to genera
1 Trees and shrubs. Leaves small (up to 7 mm), ± squamiform. Flower very small (3-7 mm in diameter), in dense racemes Tamarix
1 Subshrubs with young stems herbaceous. Leaves long (10-30 mm or even longer), linear. Flowers large (15-30 mm diameter), solitary Reaumuria
Updated by: J. Charco.