Ceratocarpus arenarius (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Camphorosma lessingii
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Ceratocarpus arenarius (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Eurotia ewersmanniana
Ceratocarpus arenarius
Ceratocarpus utriculosus

Ceratocarpus arenarius L.

Local name:

  • Russian: Рогач песчаный, (перекати-поле) - rogač pesčanyj, (perekati-pole)
  • Uzbek: Ebelek, Kamgokh

Chromosome number: 2n = 18 (Zahareva 1968).

Description and morphology: Annual almost spherical plant (height 5–30 cm), greyish, pubescent and strongly ramified at base. Pivotal root system (30–55 cm), superficial. Stem: long, slender, crooked, bifurcated, ascending from woody root. Leaves: rigid, alternate or opposite, less often 3 in group, linear or threadinglinearly, with rigid prickly-spiny tip. Bracts (1.0–1.4 cm long, 0.5–2.0 mm wide) highly pubescent, spiniform at tip. Flowers: monoecious, unisexual; in small axillary clusters in terminal inflorescence; male inconspicuous, short petioled with 2-lobed perianth and 1 stamen arranged axillary by small glomerule (2–5); female singular without perianth with superior highly pubescent ovary and 2 threading or filamentous stigmas, surrounded by 2 accreted bracts.

Reproduction: Flowering: May–June. Fruit maturation: July–August. After drying all plant becomes prickly. Fruit: small (2.5–7.0 mm) lyzicarpous, monospermous, indehiscent nut-like with thin hulled fruiting body. Fruit dimorphism: at base of plant, fruits flattened, inverseovoid shape reduced horn-like structure; fruits at the upper part, oblong-inverse wedged, faint venation on margins and end in 2 wide hornlike structures. Seed: small, vertical with small embryo, trace of endosperm.

Pastoral importance: Mainly feed for horses and sheep preferably grazed early in spring. In autumn, provides better grazing after wet weather. In favourable wet years can be used for haymaking. Rejected by all livestock in summer because of spines. Expected yield on sandy pastures is about 0.1–0.4 t/ha. Drought and salt tolerant, may be used for range improvement on shifting sands and in saline areas.

Fodder value: At fruit maturation forage contains (% DM): crude protein 12; fat 1.6; ash 17–20; nitrogen-free extract 48; cellulose 26; soluble carbohydrates 1.2–11.6; Na 0.57–1.12; P 0.17–0.35; Ca 0.61–1.47; K 2.92. Contains alkaloid (saponin).

Habitat: Psammo-xerophyte. Occurs on slightly saline sands and on brown or grey-brown soils. Frequently grows as single plant, colonizes most often by forming a small group.

Distribution: Northern Middle Asia, southern European part of Russia, Caucasus and Siberia.

Other: Ceratocarpus sp.