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Tamerici, cultivated for centuries on the coasts of the Mediterranean, from time immemorial in the lines of a poem that many of us had to learn by heart in school. These plants resist over time, in our mind, but even if cultivated, because they withstand winds and brackish water without too much suffering. That's why not only they are widespread in seaside areas but are chosen to create windbreak hedges on the coasts both to strengthen the breakwaters. However, nobody forbids us to grow tamarisk in the garden, in pots or as bonsai.
Tamerici: the plant
Together with over 60 other species, the Tamerici belong to the Tamarix genus and are native to Asia and the Mediterranean area. The most common species is T. gallica which looks like a small tree, with deciduous leaves, up to 5 meters in height.
Its stem can be erect or even tilted, covered with a gray and wrinkled bark. The branches are dense and numerous, intertwining they create a crown with round shapes, but individually they are thin and neither straight nor rigid. The leaves of this plant are very small, they almost look like the scales of a a color that sometimes seems more blue than green.
If the leaves aren't particularly beautiful, the flowers are, even if they are small. Already in early spring, they form spikes of pink color which is sometimes so faint as to appear white, The Tamerici blooms so abundantly that the leaves and branches disappear and only the flowers are seen. After the flowering stage, they sprout in place of these pink ears of the "clusters" of small capsule-shaped fruits with equally small seeds inside.
The Tamerici in spring they are a pink cloud tremendously elegant and light, soft and tender. Spectacular in a garden as in a wilder environment, beaten by the wind.
In nature, as in photography, there are many species, only some are cultivated and are available for our gardens. They are divided into two categories, those that bloom in spring, the best for those who want to grow them, and those that bloom in autumn.
These decorative plants are at ease in coastal areas, in fact they are native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe but also to areas of China washed by water. The 12 species most used in gardens in our area have a bushy appearance, rounded foliage and a maximum height of 3 meters. A very popular property of theirs is the fact that they really require very little care.
We find the Tamerici in poetry "The rain in the pine grove" by Gabriele D'Annunzio. Here is an excerpt.
Shut up. Up the thresholds
I do not hear of the forest
words you say
human; but I hear
that speak drops and leaves
from the scattered clouds.
It rains on the tamarisk trees
brackish and burnt,
it rains on the pines
scaly and bristly,
it rains on the myrtles
on the shining brooms
of welcomed flowers,
on the thick gorse
of aulent cuddles,
it rains on our faces
it rains on our hands
on our clothes
Myricae, therefore Tamerici, is the title of Pascoli's first collection of poems, this word is also in the epigraph at the beginning of the collection: "Arbusta iuvant, humilesque myricae" (Virgil Egloga IV, 2). Myricae, therefore Tamerici, is the word that Virgil uses to indicate his bucolic poems: poetry that rises little from the ground - humilis. Here is the meaning.
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