TAMARISK (Heb. אֵשֶׁל, eshel). Several species of the genus Tamarix grow wild in Israel. The tree resembles the cypress in that its leaves are very small and in one species are barely visible. Unlike the cypress, however, the tamarisk belongs to the Angiospermae, having seeds in a closed ovary. Since in Arabic the tamarisk is called athl, which corresponds to the biblical eshel, the tree planted in Beer-Sheba by Abraham (Gen. 21: 33), the eshel has so been identified. Saul judged the people beneath an eshel (I Sam. 22:6), and the bones of Saul and his sons were buried under this tree in Jabesh in Transjordan (I Sam. 31:13; in I Chron. 10:12 the reading is elah, a terebinth ). Some rabbis understood eshel to be a general name for a tall tree, and some took it to be the shittim trees from which the tabernacle was constructed (Yal., Song 985). The tamarisk trees of Israel grow in the warmer regions. Some, like the Tamarix jordanis which covers extensive stretches in the thickets of Jordan, grow near water, whereas the Tamarix tetragyna grows extensively in the swamp in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. Other species grow in the coastal lowlands and in the sandy stretches of the Negev. In the Sinai Desert grows the species Tamarix mannifera, upon which is found a sweet extract of insects that some believe to be the biblical manna . It would appear that the biblical arar, mistakenly identified with the juniper , is in fact the tamarisk growing in the desert or in salty soil, and it is called ʿ ar ʿ ar in Arabic. The name arar, from the root ערה meaning "empty" or "naked," fits the tamarisk for it has only tiny leaves covered with a gray coating of salt which exudes from them. Jeremiah compares a person who puts his trust in man and not in God to "an arar in the desert." The tree appears to be suffering and "shall not see when good cometh" (Jer. 17:6). In contrast to the pessimistic Jeremiah, the psalmist (Ps. 102:18) sees hope even for it, for "He hath regarded the prayer of the arar" ("destitute"). It has been suggested that this reference is to the brief period of the tree's flowering when it is covered with thousands of pinkish-white blossoms as if wrapped in a   tallit and praying for the improvement of the hard conditions of its life in the desert. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Loew, Flora, 3 (1924), 398ff.; H.N. and A.L. Moldenke, Plants of the Bible (1952), index; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (19682), 82–83, 94–95. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Tamarisk — Tam a*risk, n. [L. tamariscus, also tamarix, tamarice, Skr. tam[=a]la, tam[=a]laka, a tree with a very dark bark; cf. tamas darkness: cf. F. tamarisc, tamarix, tamaris.] (Bot.) Any shrub or tree of the genus {Tamarix}, the species of which are… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tamarisk — [tam′ə risk] n. [ME tamarisc < LL tamariscus, for L tamarix] any of a genus (Tamarix) of small trees or shrubs of the tamarisk family with slender branches and feathery flower clusters, common near salt water and often grown for a windbreak… …   English World dictionary

  • tamarisk — (n.) southern European evergreen shrub, c.1400, from L.L. tamariscus, variant of tamarix, of unknown origin, probably a borrowing from a non I.E. language, perhaps related to Heb. tamar palm tree, date palm (see TAMARIND (Cf. tamarind)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • tamarisk — ► NOUN ▪ a shrub or small tree with tiny scale like leaves borne on slender branches. ORIGIN Latin tamariscus, variant of tamarix …   English terms dictionary

  • tamarisk — UK [ˈtæmərɪsk] / US noun [countable] Word forms tamarisk : singular tamarisk plural tamarisks a large bush with stiff leaves and pink or white flowers …   English dictionary

  • tamarisk — prancūzinis eglūnas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Eglūninių šeimos dekoratyvinis, vaistinis augalas (Tamarix gallica), paplitęs pietų Europoje. atitikmenys: lot. Tamarix gallica angl. French tamarisk; tamarisk vok. französische Tamariske; …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • tamarisk — noun Etymology: Middle English tamarisc, from Late Latin tamariscus, from Latin tamaric , tamarix Date: 14th century any of a genus (Tamarix of the family Tamaricaceae, the tamarisk family) of chiefly Old World desert shrubs and trees having tiny …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tamarisk — /tam euh risk/, n. 1. any Old World tropical plant of the genus Tamarix, esp. T. gallica, an ornamental Mediterranean shrub or small tree having slender, feathery branches. 2. a shrub or small tree, Tamarix chinensis, of Eurasia, having scalelike …   Universalium

  • tamarisk — [[t]tæ̱mərɪsk[/t]] tamarisks N COUNT A tamarisk is a bush or small tree which grows mainly around the Mediterranean and in Asia, and has pink or white flowers …   English dictionary

  • tamarisk — eglūnas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Eglūninių (Tamaricaceae) šeimos augalų gentis (Tamarix). atitikmenys: lot. Tamarix angl. tamarisk vok. Tamariske rus. гребенщик; тамариск lenk. tamaryszek …   Dekoratyvinių augalų vardynas

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