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A tamarisk in the garden inspires gardeners and pedestrians alike. The leaves, flowers and bark present themselves in different colors over the years and are extremely easy to care for, which makes keeping them particularly pleasant. Over the course of the year, the shrubs and small trees of the genus within the tamarisk family (bot. Tamaricaceae) produce seeds that raise the question of whether Tamarix species are poisonous, especially among parents and pet owners.


It is difficult to answer whether the tamarisk is actually poisonous or not, which is due to the components of the plant. In botany, the tamarisk not classified as a poisonous plant. A look at the ingredients makes this clear.

Spring Tamarisk, Tamarix parviflora



Cyanidin is a vegetable coloring agent within the group of anthocyanins, known in chemistry as a color indicator is being used. The substance has no harmful effects on humans or animals and is responsible, for example, for the red color of roses, the intense blue of cornflowers and the dark color of elderberry. pH values can be made clear with cyanidin, since the substance presents itself in a different color at each pH value.

ellagic acid

Ellagic acid is mainly found in pomegranates, strawberries and raspberries, where it acts as a polyphenol, i.e. aromatic substances that give the fruit its characteristic taste. Ellagic acid is considered beneficial to health, but too much of it should not be consumed, as research is not sure whether higher doses could have negative effects.


The quercetin is the reason why a direct statement about the toxicity of the tamarisk is not possible. In itself, the yellow dye, which is also a flavoring substance, is not considered harmful to living beings and is even effective against cancer cells that die on contact with quercetin. However, it has been established that a lethal dose exists in laboratory animals when administered over a long period of time:

  • Rats: 161 mg per kg body weight
  • Mice: 159 mg per kg body weight

However, since there are no direct results on the concentration of the substance within the tamarisk, extremely large amounts would have to be consumed to achieve a lethal dose. Quercetin is also non-allergenic, making Tamarix itself safe for children and humans. Many foods you eat every day contain quercetin:

  • Grapes
  • apples
  • chives
  • Kale
  • blueberries

kaempfer oil

Kaempferol is a plant-based flavonoid that, despite the name, should not be confused with camphor. Kaempferol has the following positive properties that make it interesting for research:

  • antimicrobial
  • anti-inflammatory
  • cardioprotective
  • neuroprotective
  • analgesic
  • anxiolytic

It is contained in many foods and semi-luxury foods as a coloring agent, including pumpkins, grapes and rosemary, and is not harmful to humans. According to research, the substance should even have an effective effect on postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Spring Tamarisk, Tamarix parviflora


are tannins vegetable tanning agentsthat protect against predators. For example, they are effective as bitter substances in wine and tea and have a significant influence on the aroma. The tannins are in the galls of the tamarisk and are not contained in the seeds, capsule fruits or other parts of the plant.

The tamarisk species have these ingredients in common with the other genera within the tamarisk family. These include, for example, the German tamarisk (bot. Myricaria germanica), which is also not classified as a poisonous plant. On the contrary: in folk medicine, these plants were even used to treat problems with the spleen.

tip: An allergy to tanning agents is known, but this only affects the tanning agents used in the manufacture and processing of leather. In most cases, these are chromium (III) chloride and chromates, which lead to allergic reactions with prolonged skin contact, but the species of the genus Tamarix have nothing to do with this.

effect on humans

An effect on humans, especially children, cannot be observed with the tamarisk. Since the majority of the ingredients are found in a large number of other plants that are tolerable to humans, Tamarix in itself should not be assumed to pose a risk. Only quercetin, as described above, is still being intensively studied by researchers for possible negative effects in order to be able to determine a possible lethal dose for humans. Therefore, the plant parts of the tamarisks themselves no risk of poisoning, only because of their size, pose a choking hazard, especially for children. However, the tannins can cause the following symptoms:

  • constipation
  • Gas Tannins are less well tolerated by children than adults, so be sure to avoid the plant's galls. However, since galls are extremely unappetizing, children avoid them after trying them once. If tannins are ingested in high amounts over a long period of time, they are considered toxic because they impede the absorption of iron and calcium. This prevents the absorption of these vital substances in the organism.
Summer tamarisk, Tamarix ramosissima

tip: In extremely rare cases, sensitive people may experience skin irritation when touching the leaves. These excrete salt and hypersensitivity to sodium chloride leads to reddening of the skin, which is similar to cholinergic urticaria.

effect on animals

The effect of the ingredients on animals is difficult to prove, but for safety reasons, dogs and cats should not be allowed to eat the seeds. The main reason for this is the quercetin it contains, which, as described above, is found in numerous plants. It is also present in numerous plants that dogs and cats are not allowed to eat, such as grapes, tea plants or onions. This can end up leading to the following symptoms in both types of pets:

  • Vomit
  • no longer want to take other food
  • exhaustion
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea

In the worst case, the kidneys fail, which can lead to death. Dogs are particularly affected by this. However, it is not certain how high the concentration of the ingredients is in the individual parts of the plant, especially the seeds. However, cases of cats or dogs that have been poisoned by the tamarisk are not known and it can therefore be assumed that the carnation-like species are only slightly or hardly poisonous to animals. However, don't bother checking to see if your dog is trying to eat the seeds or flowers, or cats are chewing on the leaves.

tip: The ingredients have no effect on rodents, birds, horses and lagomorphs in small doses. Therefore, the individual tamarisk species are quite harmless to them and can remain in the garden without any problems.

notice: Please note that this article is by no means a substitute for a doctor's visit. There is no guarantee of the correctness of medical statements.
Detailed information on first aid in the event of poisoning and important information on the poison control centers can be found here.

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