Halocnemum strobilaceum (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Halimocnemis villosa
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Halocnemum strobilaceum (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Halostachys caspica
Halocnemum strobilaceum
Halocnemum strobilaceum
Halocnemum strobilaceum

Halocnemum strobilaceum (Pall.)

Local name:

  • Russian: Caрыксазан шишкoватый - saryksazan šiškovatyj
  • Uzbek: Sarsazan
  • Turkmen: Chorotan, Shor-otan

Chromosome number: 2n = 18 (Tarnavschii 1948; Fedorov 1969).

Description and morphology: Succulent glabrous shrub (height 10–40 cm), often forming rounded hummocks up to 2 m diameter. Root system superficial; central pivot poorly developed; lateral superficial (to depth 10–35 cm). Stem: old stems woody, intertwined with brownish bark; young stems jointed, succulent, much branched, erect to ascending with opposite orbicular buds. Leaves: obovate (1 mm), strongly reduced to fleshy cups, connate at base with scarious margins. Perianth segments at fruit stage 3-lobed, unequal, dropform, broadly oblong, hyaline, apex truncate. Flowers: bisexual; in clusters of 2–3, on short lateral and terminal branches and completely sunken into fleshy stems, without bracts. Inflorescence: opposite, short fleshy cone-like spikes; 1 stamen forward (2 mm) with flattened filament and ovoid anther. Pollen grain 3-celled, penta-polyporate. Ovary superior with 2-awled stigma. Style short, thick. Ovule ana-campilotropous, crassi-nucelate, bitegmic.

Reproduction: Sexual and vegetative root stalks. Mostly self- and/or wind-pollinated. Flowering and fruit maturation: August–October. Fruit: utricle (1.25 mm), monospermous, compressedovoid. Seed: brown, vertical, oval, compressed (0. 5–0.75 mm). Seed coat thin-celled. Embryo small, arcuate, leucophyte. Long-term seed stratification with alternating temperatures stimulates germination.

Pastoral importance: Grazed by camels only on autumn-winter pastures, not eaten by small ruminants, probably because of high salt content. It is more palatable in late autumn wet season. Excellent prime colonizer of highly saline sites. Frequently used in the rehabilitation or establishment of halophytic pastures. Biomass contribution is about 0.15–0.25 t DM/ha.

Fodder value: Medium quality. At end of flowering contains (% DM): crude protein 16; fat 4.0; cellulose 13; ash 46; nitrogen-free extract 36. Micro-elements: Na 7.6; K 2.5; Cl 0.3; small amount of alkaloids. Capable of concentrating more than 25% of salt in tissue.

Habitat: Hyper-halophyte. Narrow ecological range in wet salt-marshes, salt-crusted and saline sandy soils. Requires salt in soil (NaCl > 1.5–2%) for normal development.

Distribution: Central and East Asia, southern part of Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Caucasus, Mongolia, China, West Siberia and all arid North Africa.