Alyssum desertorum (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Heliotropium micranthum
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Alyssum desertorum (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Isatis boissieriana
Alyssum desertorum
Alyssum desertorum
Alyssum tortuosum in Moyunkum (Kazakhstan)


Alyssum desertorum Stapf.

Local name:

  • Russian: Бурачок пустынный, (Бурачок туркестанский) buračok pustynnyj, (buračok turkestanskij)
  • Turkmen: Mayadane

Chromosome numbers: n = 8 (Darlington and Wylie 1955); 2n = 32 (Mulligan 1965).

Description and morphology: Annual ephemeral herb (height 5–15 cm), stellate hairs. Stem: erect or ascending, branched at the base. Leaves: sessile, linear-oblong or linearlanceolate (0.5–1.5 cm long, 0.1–0.3 cm wide), acuminate with entire margins; lower leaves on short pedicels. Flowers: bisexual; short terminal racemes, elongating in fruit; sepals not saccate; petals (2.5–3.0 mm long, 1.0–1.25 mm wide) wedge-shaped, white or yellowish, exceeding the sepals; filaments of stamens simple or winged or toothed towards the base. Stigma capitate; style short filiform. Grows from March to middle May. Dries out quickly and disappears in summer.

Reproduction: Fruit: dehiscent, glabrous, ovoid-orbicular, and/or elliptic 2-locular silique (3–4 mm), broadest at the middle ending in a short beak. Seed: small (about 1.5 long, 0.5–1.0 mm wide); flattened, sometimes narrowly winged with large embryo without endosperm, 1–2 per locule, often mucilaginous. Dormancy B1 type. Poor germination from freshly collected seeds; 6 months dry storage produces 100% germination. Seed viability about 1 year. Cold stratification (5–15 °C) and/or washing mucus from the fruit facilitates germination.

Pastoral importance: As all ephemerals, it is eaten by sheep, goats and camels before flowering. However, usually it makes a poor contribution to range biomass.

Habitat: Found everywhere on sandy and loamy soil. Very common near winter paddocks and barns.

Distribution: Central Asia, Mediterranean region to Siberia.

Other: Alyssum sp.