Glycyrrhiza glabra (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Astragalus villosissimus
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Glycyrrhiza glabra (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Halimodendron halodendron
Glycyrrhiza glabra
Glycyrrhiza glabra

Glycyrrhiza glabra L.

Local name:

  • Russian: Солодка голая - solodka golaja
  • Uzbek: Kzyl-miya, Shirinmiya, Tuksiz-miya
  • Turkmen: Buyan

Chromosome number: 2n = 16 (Chekhov 1935; Fedorov 1969); 2n = 16, 32 (Ashurmetov and Karshibaev 1987).

Description and morphology: Perennial herb (height 30–150 cm) with a deep pivotal root system (to depth 2–4 m), extending laterally (4 m) in all directions. Stem: erect to ascending, much branched from base and covered with pointed glands or glandular spines. Leaves: large (5–20 cm) on short hairy pedicels, imparipinnate (3–9 pairs). Leaflets oblongovate, elliptic to lanceolate with numerous point glands. Stipules small, lanceolate awnshaped, falling at the flowering stage. Flowers: bisexual; small (0.8–1.0 cm long), gathered in loose spikes (5–12 cm long). Calyx tubular (6–8 mm long), teeth lanceolate equalling or shorter than tube, densely covered with short, glandular hairs. Corolla white-violet; 10 (9 accreted and 1 free) stamens. Pollen grains 3-celled, less often 2-celled. Ovary inferior, polyspermous (5–10), campilotropous, crassi-nucellate, bitegmic ovules.

Reproduction: Sexual and vegetative (creeping rhizomes). Entomophilous. False polyembryony. Flowering: May–July. Fruit maturation: July–September. Fruit: pods (1.5–3.0 cm long, 4–6 mm wide) with friable pericarp. Erect or slightly curved, indehiscent, polyspermous (3–9 seeds). Seed: small (2–3 mm long, 3–4 mm wide), dark brown, ovate-reniform, smooth with large embryo, surrounded by traces of endosperm. Field germination: 12–48%. Dormancy Af type. Hardseededness 60%. Stratification and scarification as well as chemical treatment with sulphuric acid (15–30 minutes) increase germination. Seed viability 3–4 years.

Pastoral importance: Well grazed up to fructification by camels and sheep; valuable for making hay and silage. On 3-year-old stand of cultivated plants, expected yield of dry roots is 2.5 t/ha, hay 1.26 t/ha; on 6-year-old crop 7.5 and 3.2 t/ha respectively. Seed harvest 46 kg/ha.

Fodder value: Fruit contains (% DM): crude protein 11; ash 6.0; cellulose 34; fat 5.4; nitrogen-free extract 43. Root contains (% DM): saponin, glycyrrhizin, 6.2; flavonoid up to 4, resins and volatile oil. Forage value about 45 FU and 3.1 kg digestible protein/100 kg DM.

Economic interest: One of the most popular medicinal plants for treatment of respiratory, gastric and skin (eczema) disorders, and stomach ulcers. Powder and extract from roots is widely used in the food industry, as a cosmetic, for tanning skin, and for dyeing wool different colours. Potential plant for range improvement, pasture and hay in the southern deserts and semi-deserts.

Habitat: Meso-xerophyte. Occurs in desert/adyr, semi-desert, more often in steppe areas, on river banks, old deposits, land after cultivation. Tolerates salinity.

Distribution: Karakalpakia, delta of the Amu-Darya and Zerafshan, Syr-Darya, Kazakhstan, European part of Russia, Caucasus, West Europe, Asia Minor, Iran, Afghanistan and North Africa.