Tamarix taklamakanensis is an endangered shrub endemic to arid basins of northwestern China. In a new study published in AoB PLANTS Xiao et al. assessed the genetic diversity and structure of 15 T. taklamakanensis populations in the Tarim Basin, China. Based on seven microsatellite loci, they found that the total gene diversity was moderate, whereas the allelic diversity was low; they also found high levels of gene flow among populations in the centre of Tarim Basin, but higher levels of genetic differentiation in geographically outlying populations. Their study provides useful information for the conservation and restoration of this endangered shrub.