Salicornia herbacea (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Nanophyton erinaceum
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Salicornia herbacea (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Salsola arbuscula
Salicornia herbacea
Salicornia herbacea

Salicornia herbacea L.

Local name:

  • Russian: Cолерос травянистый - soleros travjanistyj
  • Uzbek: Kizil-surran, Kyzyl-Shura
  • Kazakh: Sorang, Busau bas

Chromosome number: 2n = 18, 20, 36 (Wulff 1936; Wilkon Michalska 1963; Fedorov 1969; Turner 1994).

Description and morphology: Annual succulent herb (height 5–45 cm) with superficial root system. Stem: erect to ascending or slightly spreading from base opposite branches, pale green, frequently becoming reddish; glabrous leaves adpressed to stem, appear to consist of jointed, cylindrical, fleshy segments, with only tips of leaves free. Leaves: reduced, scale-like, succulent, in opposite pairs. Perianth segments obtusely angled, rhomboidal shield-shaped. Flowers: solitary or in groups of 3 in leaf axils, almost wholly immersed in the fleshy stem. Inflorescence: cylindrical short spikes (1–6 cm long, 2.0–2.5 mm wide); 1–2 stamens. Anthers white-yellow; ovoid-oblong. Ovary with 2 stigmas.

Reproduction: Sexual. Anemophilous. Flowering: June–July. Fruit maturation: July–August. Fruit: indehiscent, monospermous with thin membranous pericarp. Seed: vertical, oviform, small (1.5 mm long), black-brown, covered on top by bundle of hooked hairs. Embryo small, curved. Dormancy B1 type. Laboratory germination: 12–18%. Stratification (3 °C) for 0.5–2 months or chemical treatment significantly increase germination. Seed viability 10–12 months.

Pastoral importance: Most common desert forage plant on salty flats. Well grazed by cattle and camels, occasionally by sheep and goats in early autumn-winter. Limited consumption due to high salt content in tissues. Livestock need clean fresh water if grazing Salicornia herbacea. Expected yield on crusted solonetz-alkaline and wet salt-marsh soils is about 0.10–0.2 t /ha.

Fodder value: Poor. Extract of green vegetative part more than 90% water; ash 36; crude protein 9; small amount of cellulose 20; nitrogenfree extract 32; ash 50; NaCl 4.4; Na2SO4 0.27; Na2CO3 4.5.

Economic interest: Fodder, medicinal plant (broth of dried plant is used as diuretic). Has good insecticidal properties.

Habitat: Ubiquitous hyper-halophyte. Basic fodder plant of natural pastures of damp saline sites (solonchak-alkaline soils) on river banks, lakes and channels.

Distribution: Europe, Asia, Africa and America (except tropical areas).