Tithymalus turczaninowii (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Ephedra strobilacea
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Tithymalus turczaninowii (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Alhagi pseudalhagi

Tithymalus turczaninowii (K. et K.) Kl. et Gke ex Klotzsch.

Local name:

  • Uzbek: Sutlyama
  • Russian: Молочай Турчанинова, Циатин Турчанинова

Chromosome number: n = 10 (Darlington and Wylie 1955; Grant 1982); 2n = 12, 20, 56 (Fedorov 1969).

Description and morphology: Annual ephemeral plant (height 10–30 cm), strongly branched, milky latex.

Leaves: alternate opposite, sessile, obovoid, numerous. Bracts oblonglanceolate, unequal at base and spiciform at end. Inflorescence: cyathium, with several male flowers and 1 female flower, enclosed in a gland-bearing involucre; axillary cyathia or in pseudo-umbels. Male campanulate or capiform, 1 stamen borne on own pedicel. Female superior, trilocular and tri-stylus ovary on pedicel, usually elongate in fruit; ovules 1 per locule. Stigmas usually bifid.

Reproduction: Sexual. Flowering and fruit maturation: April–beginning of June. Fruit: 3-spermous, fractional capsule, dehiscing into 3 mericarps. Seed: (1–0.5 mm), pyramidal- 6-angled, smooth, slightly acuminate at top without appendage, erect, large embryo, surrounded by endosperm. Dormancy A1–B2 type. Seeds contain inhibitors. Stratification with variable temperatures (0–2/18–20 °C or 6/35 °C) and/or soaking or washing of seeds in distilled water increase germination.

Pastoral importance: Poor value. Grazed occasionally by sheep in spring; usually not appreciated by all livestock, especially when in fruit.

Habitat: Xero-mesophyte. Ubiquitous on sandy soils.

Distribution: Middle Asia (north-western Kyzylkum, Ustyurt and north-eastern Karakum).