Aellenia subaphylla (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Holosteum umbellatum
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Aellenia subaphylla (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Agriophyllum latifolium
Aellenia subaphylla
Aellenia subaphylla
Aellenia subaphylla
Aellenia subaphylla

Aellenia subaphylla (CAM.) Aellen

Local name:

  • Russian: Чогон малолистный, Элления малолистная - čogon malolistnyj, èllenija malolistnaja
  • Turkmen: Chogon
  • Uzbek: Chugon
  • Kazakh: Shongaina, Chogan

Chromosome number: 2n = 18, 36 (Turner 1994).

Description and morphology: Polymorphic woody bush (height 50–160 cm), greenish, glabrous, strongly branched. Life span 7–25 years. Pivotal root system to depth 5–12 m. Leaves: linear, alternate, succulent, leathery, pointed. Buds drop-like, arranged spirally. Perianth simple, pentamerous, naked, bracts oblong-ovoid. Flowers: bisexual, protogynous, occasionally unisexual; pink to yellowish, single in spikes assembled in a panicle. Anthers lengthened with pointed appendage, introrse marked with longitudinal cracks. Pollen grains 3-celled, oval-oblong shape, pentaporate. Ovule ana-campilotropous, bitegmic, crassinucellate.

Reproduction: Sexual. Anemophilous, rarely entomophilous plant. Self-pollination is also admitted. Propagation by seeding/transplanting. Polyembryony, apomixis, parthenocarpy. Flowering: May–August (80–90 days). Fruit maturation: end of October–November. Fruit: large (12–15 mm) indehiscent nut-form, reddish when fresh, turning yellow when dry. Upper perianth orbiculate slightly convex; perianth lobe compact, tube flat to shortly turbinate, thin walled, glabrous; wings horizontal, densely veined towards margin (10–15 mm diameter), entire or with single radial split. Seed: small, orbicular, dark brown with large (2.0–2.3 mm) spirally intorted embryo surrounding perisperm. Seed coat thin, two-layered with intermediate cuticle. Dormancy A2–B1 type. Viable seeds: 35–61%. Seed viability 8–9 months. Field germination poor: 9–35%. Germination stimulated by stratification (2–4 °C) for 1–2.5 months and then alternating temperature (15/28 °C, night/day), and/or washing (2–3 times) fruits with distilled water to remove inhibitors. Removing sclerified fruiting body and sprouts of seeds increases germination up to 2.0–2.5 times at 24–26 °C.

Pastoral interest: Young stems, leaves and fruits are readily consumed by sheep, goats, cattle and camels, especially in late spring and autumn. In winter, hardened and sclerified yearly growth is also eaten by all livestock. Widely used for range improvement and/or the creation of highly productive monospecific permanent summer-autumn pasture in semi-arid and sandy desert areas of Central Asia. Expected yield in Artemisia semi-desert conditions (Karnabchol steppe) with MAP 200– 240 mm/year is about 0.75–1.0 t/ha on the best loamy soils. Forage biomass on Kyzylkum sand is about 0.5–0.8 t/ha. Seed production is about 0.15–0.30 t/ha in steppe and 0.3–0.5 t/ha in artificial dense stands.

Fodder value: At the vegetative stage (% DM): protein 25; fat 2.7; cellulose 18. Contains alkaloids subaphylin and salsolin. Fodder value is about 37–50 FU/100 kg DM.

Economic interest: Fodder, also useful for sandfixing, and as medicinal plant and dye (brown and yellow-red). Broth made from a solution of green leaves is used for lowering blood pressure, treatment of gynaecological diseases; ash from branches is used for treatment of scab and anthrax in animals. Extract from fruits is used for treatment of various types of wound.

Habitat: Psammo-halophyte. Frequently found in mixed shrub and woodland communities on sandy, grey-brown, clay soils, rarely on stony saline slopes and on salt-marsh margins, and on calcareous soil.

Distribution: Central Asia (Kyzylkum, Karakum, Moyunkum desert, Aral region), Iran and Iraq.