The bead belongs to the Tamarix family, therefore it is also called Tamarix. The birthplace of a perennial plant is Russia. This beautiful shrub or small tree with luxurious lilac-pink inflorescences, forming panicles on young shoots, blooms all summer.
In the regions, the shrub is called differently: comb, God's tree, comb, or Astrakhan lilac, jengil.
Beads - a beautiful shrub
The bead or tamarix grows bushy, its height is from 3 to 12 m. The trunk diameter is about 50 cm. The crown is formed by numerous thin branches.
The leaves are arranged alternately, scaly, have a length of up to 7 mm.
The flowers are small (3-5 mm) in 4-5 petals, collected in panicles. The color is pink or purple, less often white or scarlet.
The fruit looks like a five-sided box, revealing three wings. Numerous seeds are small, ovoid, covered with long whitish hairs, spread by the wind.
During flowering, the shrub is very beautiful. Flowers look like small bugles or beads glowing from the inside. Flowering occurs several times a year.
How to care for beads
The bead does not tolerate frosts, so in the middle zone of Russia for the winter it needs to be completely covered or the root neck. Beads grow on any soil. The most common species withstand cold up to - 170C. They love light very much, in the shade, even in loose, formed foliage of trees, they perish.
Excess moisture also harms the bead. In vivo, he chooses open, dry places.
Propagation of beads
Seed propagation of beads is inefficient, since in Russia seeds usually do not have time to ripen. Seed germination lasts 2-4 months. They are sown in pots, which are installed in a pan with water. In spring, the sprouts are transplanted into the soil.
Beads can be propagated by lignified shoots. It is not recommended to make green cuttings from young shoots, as they, although they quickly take root in the sand, do not have time to lignify before winter and therefore freeze.
Lumber cuttings are harvested in late autumn, stored until spring in the basement or in the refrigerator. When the snow melts, the cuttings are planted, placing them obliquely and deepening so that 2-3 cm remains on the soil surface. Also, the cuttings can be stored in any container with water.
When the buds sprout, the extra shoots are plucked, leaving 2-3 of the strongest.
For landing, choose a place with deep underground waters, open, bright, not flooded in the flood season. The bead has a deep penetrating root and fleshy leaves that retain moisture, so it easily tolerates dry times.
The soil needs sandy, light, if it is heavy, then drainage is necessary. The upper parts of the gentle slopes are suitable for planting, which are protected from the cold wind by buildings or a strip of vegetation, so that the place is windproof. It would be great if snow accumulated at the landing site in winter.
The soil is selected alkaline, as acidic lands, combined with excess moisture, weaken the plant. Excess moisture must be taken away, soil should be produced. It is useful to add crushed limestone or dolomite flour.
It is recommended to plant and transplant beads in the spring, so that the plant has time to adapt before the onset of winter cold.
Despite the resistance to drought, the bead needs regular watering, especially young bushes whose roots are not deep enough in the soil. Planted plants are watered while maintaining moderate soil moisture. When the plant hardens, watering is reduced. An adult plant is watered only during the period of long-term drought once every one and a half to two weeks. In addition to watering in the summer, plant care is not required.
As the first frost approaches, the plant is prepared for winter, which is especially important for the first wintering bead. The surface of the soil is insulated with mulch, for which you can use fallen leaves, peat. In early November, when establishing a constant zero temperature, young shoots are bent to the ground and covered with spruce branches. The old branches are slightly tilted so as not to break, and also insulated.
In the spring, broken and frozen branches are removed, and a decorative crown is formed.
Places of distribution of beads
Originally from Russia, beads are found in southern Europe, in Asia, Africa, and Central Asia. It usually grows in tugai forests, prefers the proximity of rivers. Sometimes found on salt marshes and salt marshes, sand dunes.
Varieties of Tamarix Beads
Most often you can find Tamarix paniculata (Tamarix ramosissima), it is also called Tamarix five-stamen (Tamarix pentandra). It grows in the steppes and semi-deserts from Central Asia to the south of Ukraine. This is the most winter-hardy of beads, blooms annually with beautiful small pink or pale violet flowers, which are collected in spectacular openwork brushes up to half a meter long. Leaflets are needle-shaped, greenish-blue.
Tamarix tetrachink (Tamarix tetrandra) grows in the southeast of the European part of Russia, in Asia Minor, Crimea. It grows up to 10 meters tall. Leaves are ovate, 1 cm long. Blossoms earlier than other species: in April, white or light pink flowers appear.
Graceful Tamarix (Tamarix gracilis) grows in Mongolia, China, southern Russia, and Central Asia. The leaves are pinkish-blue, lanceolate. Blooms all summer pink.
Beads are both an ornamental plant and a good sand trap.
Used for landscaping, in hedges. Looks great both in single landings and in groups. A separately growing bush can reach 60 cm across. It can be nicely positioned in the center of the lawn. Tamarixes are well adapted to urban conditions, since here they are more protected from the wind, spring comes faster. Group plantings do not require additional clearance, except perhaps for the lawn. Compositions with tamarix look great at cottages, in the lit courtyards of apartment buildings. It goes well with barberry, lilac, spirea, kerriya.
When planting a green wall in the background, it’s good to place conifers: spruce, juniper, thuja - placing them in a semicircle to protect the beads from the wind.
Evergreen species can be grown as houseplants.
In deserts and semi-deserts, they are planted to fix moving sands, especially on salty soils.
In China, you can often see a bead as a part of green walls, together with poplars and other plants resistant to damp lands and droughts, here they are used as a wind barrier.
The wood is dense, has a beautiful pattern, but since large trees rarely grow, it is used only for small crafts.
4-7 year old plants are used as fuel. Shelves, fishing tackle, and snow retention shields are woven from thin stems. Baskets and openwork furniture are also weaved from flexible shoots.
Young branches are a good feed for cattle, in the fall they acquire a laxative property.
The bark and leaves of the bead contain tannins and dyes.
Beads are very much appreciated by beekeepers, as in the summer they give a large, long-term collection of nectar, from which tamarix honey is produced.
How to plant beads
Medicinal properties of beads
Beads have diaphoretic, diuretic, astringent, hemostatic and analgesic properties.
Infusion of flowers is used for inflammation of the stomach. A decoction of branches is used for rheumatism. An infusion of bark and leaves helps with bleeding, diarrhea, and diseases of the spleen. Tea is made from bead branches. In the Caucasus, a decoction of fruits was used in antiquity to treat infertility, and a decoction of branches was used to get rid of syphilis.