Eremopyrum orientale (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Bromus tectorum
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Eremopyrum orientale (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Erianthus purpurascens
Eremopyrum orientale
Eremopyrum orientale
Eremopyrum bonaepartis
Eremopyrum bonaepartis
Eremopyrum bonaepartis
Eremopyrum bonaepartis


Eremopyrum orientale (L.) J. et Sp.

Local name:

  • Russian: Мортук восточный, (пырей восточный) - mortuk vostočnyj (pyrej vostočnyj)
  • Uzbek: Arpahon
  • Turkmen: Arpagan
  • Kazakh: Shygys

Chromosome number: 2n = 14, 28 (Bowden 1962); 2n = 28 (Sarkar 1958; Fedorov 1969).

Description and morphology: Annual, small ephemeral grass (height 10–30 cm), winterspring development with widely pubescent, ovate, fragile short spike (1.5–3 cm length, 0.9–1.8 cm wide). Superficial root system (to depth 15–20 cm). Leaves: linear with rough surface. Inflorescence: composed of spikelets with a pair of sterile glumes at base of each spikelet. Spikelet keeled with 2–5 florets: lemma nerved, with soft hairs arising from base and awns (4–8 mm long). Flowers: bisexual; actinomorphic, 3 stamens; long filamentous and flexible anthers (adapted to wind-pollination). Ovary superior with one anatropous, bitegmic, crassi-nucellate ovule and 2 feathery stigmas. One of the first ephemeral grasses to appear on sandy soils. Starts growing in the middle of January; in a warm year, may start growing as early as autumn.

Reproduction: Sexual. Flowering: April-May. Fruit maturation: May-beginning of June. Fruit: indehiscent, monospermous kernel, ovoid-lanceolate form with hulled fruiting body assembled in flower and twice bent spike scales. Seed: well differentiated, erect embryo and endosperm. Dormancy B1 type. Viable seed: 78–91%. High seed production (more than 200 seeds/plant). Short-term stratification with variable temperatures (20/30 °C, night/day) in 12 hour (dark/light) cycles then 5–10 °C/28 °C induces speedy germination.

Pastoral importance: Valuable forage on range or dried, consumed by all livestock, especially in winter-spring. Sheep, goats and horses graze inflorescence. Dried grass stands are good feed for small ruminants. Harvest varies: in spring in a dry year yields about 0.15–0.2 t/ha; in humid years 0.5–0.6 t/ha; most favourable conditions 1.0–1.2 t/ha (Kurochkina et al., 1986).

Fodder value: Nutritious value is close to the best leguminous plants. At flowering contains (% DM): crude protein 14; fibre 8.7; fat 2.7; cellulose 32; nitrogen-free extract 46; ash 8.7. Various micro-elements at heading stage (g/kg): Na 0.4–0.5; P 1.4–2.5; Ca 2.2–2.9; K 17.1–19.4; Mg 0.4–2.7; Si 1.6–1.9; Cl 2.6–4.8. At fruit stage (% DM): crude protein 12; fat 2.9; ash 5.7. During flowering value estimated at 56– 83 FU and 6.2–11.6 kg digestible protein/ 100 kg DM.

Habitat: Psammophyte. Widely distributed in desert, semi-desert and partially in steppe. Occurs on all types of range and pastures, but not on sand dunes. Most common on overgrazed, degraded pasture, around bushes, trees on takyr and sometimes slightly saline soil. Potential for range rehabilitation of degraded sites.

Distribution: Sandy deserts of Middle Asia and Kazakhstan to Near and Middle East and North Africa.

Other: Eremopyrum sp.