Anabasis salsa (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Agriophyllum latifolium
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Anabasis salsa (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Atriplex heterosperma
Anabasis salsa
Anabasis salsa
Anabasis salsa


Anabasis salsa (CAM.) Benth.

Local name:

  • Russian: Ежовник солончаковатый - ežovnik solončakovatyj
  • Uzbek, Kazakh: Biyurgun
  • Turkmen: Boyurgun

Chromosome number: 2n = 18 (Turner 1994).

Description and morphology: Small succulent shrub (height 10–60 cm), almost spherical, with strong woody ramified branches at base. Root system is distributed in the upper superficial layers of soils (depth 0.5–1 m). Stem: fleshy, turgescent, naked, white-green, glabrous and cylindrical, articulate (5–20 internodes). Leaves: opposite, fleshy, prolonged (2–5 mm), slightly pointed at tip, amplexicaul or reduced to scales. Bracts reduced to scale-like leaves, ovoid-triangular form. Bracteoles grassed, wide-ovoid and hulled. Flowers: bisexual; small, subtended by 2 bracteoles, axillary, usually solitary in spike or assembled in a panicle inflorescence. Perianth segments 5, free with 2 dense fleecy bundles within fruit, 3 or 5 of them developing a transverse wing on back; 5 stamens accreted at the epigenous disk; anthers small without appendage, opened introrse. Pollen grains 3-celled. Ovary with 2–3 short stigmas and anacampilotropous, bitegmic and crassi-nucellate single ovule.

Reproduction: Sexual and vegetative. Autogamous to entomophilous cross-pollination. Flowering: May–June. Fruit maturation: August– September. Fruit: monospermous, wide-ovoid, fleshy utricle. Pericarp glabrous, fleshy, red, perianth leaflets pentamerous with slightly sclerified coating at maturity; 2 front lobes of perianth wide-ovoid on upper side with small, horizontal wing with single radial slit; the other 3 lateral lobes narrowing oblong-ovoid and last outside lobe wider without wings. Seed: small, vertical, glabrous, lenticular or orbicular, light brown with thin hulled fruiting body, spirally intorted embryo and traces of endosperm. Seed coat thin, two-layered with intermediate cuticle. Dormancy B1 type. Laboratory seed germination is low. De-hulled and de-bracted fruits or pre-treated (light/dark) sequences, long-term stratification (5/25 °C, night/day) in 12 hour cycle, significantly increase seed germination. Seed viability 7–12 months.

Pastoral importance: One of the best pasture plants for camels in all seasons (from Morocco to Mongolia), especially in autumn as a fattening forage. Valuable for sheep, goats and horses in early spring and autumn. Harvest of green forage yields 0.05–0.8 t/ha.

Fodder value: Variable but about (% DM): crude protein 7–15; ash 18–31; cellulose 12–26; fat 1.5–3.2. Digestibility (% DM): protein 70.2; fibre 69; fat 56; cellulose 44. Fresh forage of Anabasis also contains high quantity of mineral salts (45% of soluble salts) and secondary metabolites such as alkaloids, oxalate, glycosides, tannins and phytosterol. In winter, provides about 41 FU and 6.5 kg digestible protein/100 kg DM.

Habitat: Halo-xerophyte. On grey-brown soil, with loam and gypsum content; alkaline pastures, salt marshes, takyr-like and sandy desert soil.

Distribution: Widespread in Central Asia (Kyzylkum, Karakum, Moyunkum deserts and Aral region). Frequently found in Mongolia, South-east European part of Russia, southern Siberia and Caucasus. Other Anabasis spp. are found from North Africa to Mongolia.