Nanophyton erinaceum (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Kochia prostrata
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Nanophyton erinaceum (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Salicornia herbacea
Nanophyton erinaceum
Nanophyton erinaceum
Nanophyton erinaceum
Nanophyton erinaceum

Nanophyton erinaceum (Pall.) Bge

Local name:

  • Russian: Нанофитон ежовый - nanofiton ežovyj
  • Uzbek: Tashbyurgun
  • Kazakh: Tas burgun, Zhapak

Description and morphology: Small shrub (height 5–15 cm, up to 25 cm diameter), short growing, hemi-spherical. Stem: crooked trunk and short multi-ramified, thick-skeletal dense branches. Leaves: alternate, naked or covered by tiny lumps, fleshy, short, awl-like with thorn above. Bracteoles boat-shaped, slightly longer than flowers. Perianth regular, pentamerous with membranous, rounded, inflated segments (up to 10 mm long), free almost to base, become leathery during fruiting stage. Flowers: bisexual; solitary, at axil of upper leaves; 5 stamens accreted by their bases into a hypogenous disk. Anthers divided almost to top, with a narrow appendage. Pollen grain 3-celled, pentaporate. Stigmas 2, slightly shorter than column.

Reproduction: Sexual. Typical cross-anemophilous plant. Flowering: June. Fruit maturation: September–October. Seed: small, vertical with large spiral embryo. Dormancy B1 type. Germination low. Light-sensitive. Seed viability 8–10 months.

Pastoral importance: Usually grows in large masses and provides good forage for sheep, camels, goats and horses all year round, but is preferred in autumn and winter. Expected yield is 0.1–0.2 t DM/ha.

Fodder value: (% DM): crude protein 12–14; fat 2.5–2.9; ash 17–20; nitrogen-free extract 37; cellulose 15–23; carbohydrate 19–24. Contains alkaloids. Economic interest: Reported to cause poisoning when grazed in excess.

Habitat: Xerophyte. Nearly exclusively found on flat rocky-gravelly and stony areas; very rare on sandy inter-dune depressions, salt-marshes and takyr.

Distribution: Central Asia, Siberia, Mongolia and western China.