Ammodendron conollyi (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Alhagi pseudalhagi
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Ammodendron conollyi (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Ammothamnus lehmannii
Ammodendron conollyi
Ammodendron conollyi
Ammodendron conollyi
Ammodendron conollyi in Karakum sand dunes (Turkmenistan)
Ammodendron conollyi in Ayyer’s village, Karakum (Turkmenistan)
Ammodendron karelinii

Ammodendron conollyi Bge

Local name:

  • Russian: Песчаная акация Конолли - pesčanaja akacija Konolli
  • Uzbek, Kazakh: Kuyan, Suyak, Koyan-suek
  • Turkmen: Syuzin, Cyuzen

Description and morphology: Perennial shrub or tree (height 3–7 m) branching open-lax, with deep and well developed pivotal root (to depth 4 m) and adventitious horizontal roots (12– 15 m). Life span 25–30 years. Crown poorly ramified and often trails down, flexuous. Trunk: wood red, 6–30 cm in diameter with 2– 4 skeletal axis on which twisted, glabrous branches form. Leaves: compound-pinnate, silvery- pubescent. Inflorescence: dark purple, in dense spikes or raceme borne in leaf axils. Flowers: bisexual; irregular, pentamerous with 10 (9 accreted and 1 free) stamens. Ovary superior with numerous ovules.

Reproduction: Entomophilous. Flowering: April–May. Fruit maturation: May–June. Fruit: large, linear, curved or twisted, light brown, polyspermous, dry dehiscent pod. Seed: reniform, oblong-orbicular, dark brown with large, erect embryo without endosperm. More than 78% hardseed. Dormancy Af type. Fresh seed germination: 8–12%. Scarification, treatment with sulphuric acid for 0.5–1 hour in solution of KMnO4 and boiling water, then 12 hour (dark/light) cycles (20/30 °C, night/day) improve germination. Seed viability 9–12 years.

Pastoral importance: One of the main components of sand dune plant communities with Aristida karelinii, and on degraded or deflated areas with shifting sand dunes. Due to the formation of numerous adventitious roots, well able to withstand sand invasion and long-term covering. Leaves and annual growth grazed by small ruminants and camels, especially in winter during forage shortage when alkaloid content is lowest. Fruits consumed by all livestock even in summer and later. In plant communities where A. conollyi dominates (about 75 shrub-tree/ha), expected biomass productivity is 0.5–0.7 t DM/ha; on sand dunes with dense grass cover may produce 0.05– 0.15 t DM/ha.

Fodder value: Poor. At the end of vegetation period contains (% DM): crude protein 7.5; fibre 6.1; cellulose 30; ash 6.3; nitrogen-free extract 54.

Economic interest: An interesting plant; besides its poor fodder value, it has mostly a medicinal value as leaves, fruits and roots contain a large quantity of alkaloids: ammodendrin and pahicarpin, used as respiratory stimulant and diuretic; a heart poison when used in large quantities. Extracts of roots and wood used to dye wool bright yellow. Dried plant used as insecticide. Useful for bee-keeping and honey production as large dark purple flowers attract various pollinators. Wood is utilized as a (poor) construction material, especially in boatbuilding and strengthening well shafts. Potential ornamental plant for populated areas in sandy desert areas. Also frequently used in the rehabilitation of shifting sand. However, rehabilitation results in natural conditions are generally reported to be poor, due to the high level of hard seeds. Need to conserve biodiversity and work on practical seed production.

Habitat: Psammophyte. Commonly found on shifting sand dunes and inter-dune depressions.

Distribution: Middle Asia and Kazakhstan.

Other : Ammodendron karelinii Fish. et Mey. Same ecology as Ammodendron conollyi, but the branches are more erect and rigid and prickly at the ends.