Agriophyllum latifolium (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Aellenia subaphylla
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Agriophyllum latifolium (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Anabasis salsa
Agriophyllum latifolium
Agriophyllum latifolium
Sandy desert in South Kyzylkum (with Aristida karelinii and Agriophyllum).

Agriophyllum latifolium F. et M.

Local name:

  • Russian: Кумарчик широколистный - kumarčik širokolistnyj
  • Uzbek: Zaruk
  • Turkmen, Kazakh: Kumarchik, Tumarchok

Description and morphology: Annual plant (height 15–50 cm), spherical-shaped. Root system weakly branched, superficial. Stem: strongly creeping, ramified, highly leafy, filamentous from base. Leaves: large, rigid, ovate, with a round and wedge-shaped leaf base; long elongate woody prickly tip; upper – small, sessile. Inflorescence: thorny-headed flowers, enclosed in numerous compact spikes, clusters solitary, arranged at axis of rigid and prickly bracts. Perianth regular, pentamerous, membranous, consisting of 2–3 ovate scarious-toothed leaflets. Flowers: bisexual; inconspicuous; 1–5 stamens with free filaments; anthers elongated- oblong, opened introrse by longitudinal crevice. Pollen grains 3-celled, penta-polyporate. Ovary superior.

Reproduction: Typical wind-pollinated plant. Flowering: July–August. Fruit maturation: August– September. Fruit: lyzicarpous, monospermous, pubescent nut-like (4–6 mm), ovoid, strongly clasping, extended into long divided appendix. Wings small with entire margins. Seed: oily, edible, vertical, elliptic, flattened, convex on margins (1.5–2.0 mm long).

Pastoral importance: Limited. Grazed when green in spring by sheep, camels and horses (high protein content); not eaten by livestock after drying during summer as it becomes rough and prickly; consumed in late autumn and winter periods during wet weather. Green matter yields 0.15–0.5 t/ha annually on average; seed crop yields 30–35 kg/ha.

Economic interest: Oil is extracted from seeds (more than 20%). Used as flour and for making gruel or porridge. Tincture or extract of the aerial parts is used in local medicine, mostly for lowering blood pressure. It is recommended that the plant be tested under cultivation to see if it is able to bind shifting sands.

Fodder value: Satisfactory. (% DM): crude protein 23; cellulose 7.0–26.2; ash 16; nitrogenfree extract 38. In winter (% DM): protein 14; fat 9; cellulose 4.9. Seeds (% DM): protein 18; fat 5.7; carbohydrate 68. At early growth stage is a good feed because of high protein content. However, at the end of the season, when dry, content of nitrogen is reduced 1.5–2.0 times. At flowering yields 66 FU and 6.3 kg digestible protein/100 kg DM.

Habitat: Psammophyte. Occurs on fixed, shifting dunes, inter-dune depressions and sands of the Kyzylkum.

Distribution: Endemic of Middle Asian deserts.