Trees or shrubs; stems sometimes jointed. Leaves scale-like, dilated at the base and attached by their full width, often with salt-secreting glands. Inflorescence a narrow raceme or a spike. Flowers and fruits as for family.
54 species from western Europe and Africa, to eastern Asia; 2 naturalised in Australia.
Bibical 'manna' is believed to be principally the sweet exudate from insects feeding on desert species of Tamarix (e.g. T. mannifera Ehrenb. ex Bunge).