Carex pachystylis (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Juniperus turkestanica
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Carex pachystylis (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Carex physodes
Carex pachystylis
Carex pachystylis

Carex pachystylis Gay.

Local name:

  • Russian: Осока пустынная (О. толстостолбиковая), ранг, кoрабаш - osoka pustynnaja (o. tolstostoblikovaja), rang, korabaš
  • Uzbek: Rang, Kora-bash, Kongur-bash
  • Turkmen: Kora-ilak

Chromosome number: 2n = 16, 40, 54, 72 (Sokolovskaya and Strelkova 1948; Fedorov 1969).

Description and morphology: Perennial ephemeroid, small plant (height 7–30 cm), grass-like, herbaceous. Spring-summer growth period 67–210 days. Densely tufted plant with basal black rosette of leaves. Main roots have numerous adventitious roots growing to depth 60 cm (in Kyzylkum desert to depth 1.4 m); lateral roots extend 15–30 cm. Stem: 3-edged, glabrous. Leaves: alternate, sessile, rough with wide and rolled black sheath at base and narrow parallel veined leaf plate. Flowers: unisexual or bisexual (most common); small, sessile, at the axil of two abreast bract leaves. Inflorescence: terminal, compound spike on 3–7 assembled in compact black head. Perianth strongly reduced; 3 stamens, seldom 2 or 1, yellow. Pollen grain 3-celled. Ovary superior with one anatropous, crassinucellate, bitegmic ovule.

Reproduction: Sexual and vegetative (suckers). Usually wind-pollinated plant. Flowering: March–beginning of May. Fruit maturation: May–June. Fruit: nutlet, indehiscent with woody fruiting body, enclosed in hulled brown sack. Seed: small, fine, well developed embryo and endosperm (nuclear type). Dormancy B1–B3 type. Germination rate very low. Longterm stratification sequence with dry storage of seeds for 1 year increases germination to 90%. High temperature, salinity and darkness individually and in combination inhibit germination. Seed viability 2–3 years.

Pastoral importance: Excellent forage and one of the most reliable spring forage plants of the Uzbek rangeland, with a high calorific value in winter-spring. In favourable rainy years, expected green forage 0.5–0.6 t/ha (0.15–0.3 t DM/ha). Flush of vegetation occurs at the end of February–April when spring starts.

Fodder value: Excellent forage. At flowering contains (% DM): crude protein 19; cellulose 20; fat 2.7; ash 9.2; nitrogen-free extract 41; carotin 28.5 mg/kg; vitamin C 24.3 mg/kg. Forage value about 94 FU and 10 kg digestible protein/100 kg DM.

Habitat: Usually psammo-xerophyte. Grows on various soil types from sandy to foothill clay, loamy sandy grey-brown soils in desert and semi-desert, but prefers sand dunes. Strong ability to stabilize shifting sand, re-establishes early and rapidly on overgrazed areas when protected during the short spring period.

Distribution: Widely distributed in Middle Asia, southern Caucasus, Afghanistan, Iran, western Turkey, Syria and Egypt.