Girgensohnia oppositiflora (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Gamanthus gamocarpus
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Girgensohnia oppositiflora (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Halimocnemis villosa
Girgensohnia oppositiflora

Girgensohnia oppositiflora (Pall.) Fenzl

Local name:

  • Russian: гиргенсония супротивноцветковая, карсыгул - girgensonija suprotivnocvetkovaja, karsygul
  • Turkmen: Äkaradja-Sagan
  • Uzbek: Koyanzhyn
  • Kazakh: Arsagul

Description and morphology: Annual plant (height 10–50 cm), long-lived, coarse due to dense and short spinule, strongly ramified from base with opposite branches. Stem: frequently reddish with whitish bark at base. Leaves: awl-shaped, slightly downward incurvate ending in short spinule. Flowers: bisexual; small, assembled in friable spike opposite inflorescence. Bracteoles boat-shaped. Perianth leaflets ovate or oblong, free almost up to base; 3 of them at fruit stage have wings, frequently reddish. Appendages of anthers white, awl-shaped. Pollen grain 3-celled, penta-polyporate. Stigmas very short.

Reproduction: Flowering and fruit maturation: June–August. Fruit: monospermous with sclerophyllous tepal lobes and brown, smooth fruiting body. Seeds: small, ovate or oblongovate, (1–2 mm long).

Pastoral importance: Used as a summer-autumn roughage. Known as ‘dry solyanki’. Well grazed in summer and autumn by all livestock; in summer used for sheep fattening. Recommended for range improvement in a mixture. Poor contribution to biomass; expected yield 0.02–0.04 t/ha under range conditions.

Fodder value: Green forage during early vegetation contains (% DM): protein 4.2; cellulose 11; ash 13. Contains alkaloid (girgensonin). Fodder value about 67 FU and 8.6 kg digestible protein/100 kg DM.

Habitat: Halophyte. Occurs in desert on solonetz-alkaline soils, and salt-marsh, stony, gravelly and often loamy soils. Found less often on plains and foothills.

Distribution: Central Asia, Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan, China and Mongolia.