Ammothamnus lehmannii (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Ammodendron conollyi
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Ammothamnus lehmannii (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Astragalus agameticus
Ammothamnus lehmannii
Ammothamnus lehmannii
Ammothamnus lehmannii
Ammothamnus lehmannii

Ammothamnus lehmannii Bge

Local name:

  • Russian: Аммотамус Леманна, Ачик-буян - ammotamus Lemanna, ačik-bujan
  • Uzbek: Achik-buyan, Achchibuta

Description and morphology: Perennial small shrub (height 50–80 cm), much branched, with deep penetrating tap root system. Stem: woody, smooth, twig-like, silver or various colours, hairy and branched. Leaves: large, alternate, pinnately divided into 7–15 pairs of elliptic, slightly pubescent leaflets. Inflorescence: terminal racemes of 8–14 arising from axils. Flowers: large, cream-coloured, regular or zygomorphic with 5 united sepals and same number of petals; typically 10 (9 accreted and 1 free) stamens. Ovary superior with a single carpel and numerous ovules. Pollen grain 2 or rarely 3-celled, 3-colporate.

Reproduction: Sexual. Entomophilous. Flowering: May–June, irregular. Fruit: light brown, dehiscent legume, flat, oblong, narrowly winged, usually curved or twisted, slightly constricted between seeds. Seed: longitudinal in pod, orbicular, shiny with large erect embryo and impermeable seed coat. Dormancy Af type. Hardseededness up to 65%. Untreated seed germination as low as 4–9%; scarified seed 89%. High germination recorded after treatment by immersing in undiluted sulphuric acid for 30 minutes then night/day cycle (20/30 °C). Seed viability 3–4 years.

Pastoral importance: A sand-fixing species. Data on palatability is contradictory: some reports indicate that it is not eaten during the green stage, especially in wet weather. Other reports record consumption by camels and, rarely, sheep and goats. Further reports indicate that it is not grazed by sheep, horses and camels in summer and autumn. Expected green forage yield is about 0.1–0.2 t /ha.

Fodder value: Young stems are rich in nitrogen. In early spring (% DM): crude protein 31; fibre 24; cellulose 22; nitrogen-free extract 38. At the end of the vegetative growth period, protein decreases by seven times while cellulose increases twice over. About 1% is composed of alkaloids (pahicarpin, saphocarpin and ammotamin).

Economic interest: Often used as an insecticide against agricultural pests and also as a rodenticide. Used for range rehabilitation of arid areas. Potential ornamental plant.

Habitat: Psammo-xerophyte. Occurs on slightly mobile sand or sandy plains.

Distribution: Central Asia.