Camphorosma lessingii (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Atriplex heterosperma
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Camphorosma lessingii (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Ceratocarpus arenarius
Camphorosma lessingii
Camphorosma lessingii

Camphorosma lessingii Litv.

Local name:

  • Russian: Камфоросма Лессинга - kamforosma Lessinga

Chromosome number: n = 6 (Turner 1994); 2n = 12 (Tarnavschii 1948; Fedorov 1969).

Description and morphology: Perennial, small shrub (height 25–80 cm). Woody and slightly ramified short shoots form a turf arising from the base. Pivotal root system reaching to depth 2–8 m. Stem: erect, straight. Leaves: narrow, sharply pointed, rigid, densely covered with scale-like hairs, silvery appearance. Perianth 5-lobed (2.0–2.5 mm long), orbicular, flattened, hairy. Flowers: bisexual; regular, single axillary arranged in a compound panicle; 4 stamens with elongate un-appendiculate anthers. Pollen grains 3-celled, penta-polyporate.

Reproduction: Wind-pollinated plant. Flowering: June–August. Fruit maturation: September– October. Fruit: small, lyzicarpous, monospermous. Seed: vertical, orbicular, black-brown, flat (1 mm diameter). Embryo small, curved chlorophytic with large starchy perisperm. Seed coat two-layered with intermediate cuticle. Dormancy B1–B3 type. Viable seeds: 88–92%. Field germination: 38–42%; laboratory germination: 79–84%. Light-sensitive. Short-term stratification of seed greatly increases germination. Seed longevity 8–10 months.

Pastoral importance: Highly nutritional forage for small ruminants and camels. Well consumed during autumn-winter period after leaching of mineral substances. Expected yield in Artemisia Karnabchol steppe with less than 200– 240 mm/year rainfall is about 0.06–1.2 t DM/ha.

Fodder value: During early growth considerable amounts of mineral salt, volatile oil, micro-elements and amino acids are available. In western Kazakhstan, at fruit stage (% DM): crude protein 14; nitrogen 10; fat 2.2; cellulose 35; nitrogen-free extract 39. Fodder value estimated at 48 FU and 2.4 kg digestible protein/100 kg DM.

Economic interest: Camphorosma is salt/frost tolerant and as a grazing stand plant is recommended for improvement and/or creation of long-term autumn-winter pastures.

Habitat: Psammo-xerophyte.Occurs in semidesert/ desert areas on salt-marshes (solonchakalkaline soil), especially along river banks and lake shores, as well as on stony slopes.

Distribution: Middle Asia, Aral-Caspian sea region, Povoljie, Caucasus, Balkash, Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai mountains.