Kochia prostrata (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Haloxylon persicum
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Kochia prostrata (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Nanophyton erinaceum
Kochia prostrata
Kochia prostrata


Kochia prostrata (L). Schrad.

Local name:

  • Russian: Прутняк простертый - prutnjak prostertyj (изень стелющийся - izen' steljuščijsja)
    • subsp. virescens (Fenzl) Prat, Изень зеленоватый - izen' zelenovatyj
    • subsp. grisea Prat., Изень серый - izen' seryj
  • Uzbek: Izen

Chromosome number: 2n = 18, 36, 54, 72 (Shahanov and Shulgin 1978; Toderich 1998).

Description and morphology: Polymorphic, perennial small shrub (height 30–75 cm) with woody base. Life span 7–12 years. Woody root system thick, penetrating to depth 3–3.5 m gypseous soils, 4.5–5.2 m in foothills, and 6.5 m in sandy desert. Stem: erect (10–110 cm) to ascending or branched from the middle, yellow-green or reddish colour, poorly or strongly pubescent, covered by brown-greyish bark. Leaves: sub-sessile, small (0.5–0.3 cm long, 0.5–2.0 mm wide), compressed, slightly hairy, thread-linear or semi-cylindrical, acuminate with dentate margins. Perianth segments 5, white, hairy, connate for most of their length. Flowers: bisexual; rarely polygamous; protogynous in the axils of leaf-like bracts, mostly in small (3 or 5) clusters forming a compact spike, assembled in panicles; 5 stamens exerted. Anthers yellow or pink-reddish, 4-loculus, oblong with an orbiculate appendage. Pollen grain (26.2–31.9 μm) 3-celled, pentaporate. Ovary pear-shaped, superior. Ovule anacampilotropous, crassi-nucellate, bitegmic.

Reproduction: Sexual. Anemophilous, geitonogamy and autogamy also recorded. Polyploid, heterospermy, parthenocarpy. Flowering: May–August. Fruit maturation: August-beginning of November. Fruit: utricle (1.5–7.3 mm), monospermous, indehiscent. Fruiting perianth segments slender, cartilaginous, connate at the indurate base to form a yellowish 5-armed stellate structure; wings 5, horizontal spreading (1.5–2.2 mm), unaccreted, pale green, triangular towards base, deeply lobed, faintly radial veined. Seed: horizontal, small (1.0–2.8 mm), discoid, brown orbiculate-oval, membranous pericarp. Embryo large (2.0–2.1 mm) curved, chlorophytic, starchy perisperm. Endosperm poor or absent. Seed coats two-layered with intermediate cuticle. Dormancy B1 type. Maximal germination: 88% (30 °C). Seed viability, short 6 months. Germination improved in 12 hour (dark/light) cycles (15/25 °C, night/day).

Pastoral value: Young stems, leaves and fruits well grazed by all livestock all year round. Considered a highly calorific feed by shepherds. Highly productive, drought resistant and salttolerant, much promoted for range improvement and/or the creation of long-term pastures in desert and semi-arid zones, and also for haymaking. Excellent regrowth ability. Expected yield in sandy semi-desert is about 1.2–1.6 t/ha; in Karnabchol steppe 1.6–2.0 t/ha.

Fodder value: During vegetative phase (% DM): crude protein 14–15; fat 3.3–4.3; ash 10–14; nitrogen-free extract 29–43; cellulose 26–31. Leaves contain (% DM): protein 15; carotin 4.7–39.6 mg/kg; lignin 10.7–18.5%. Fodder value estimated at 45–67 FU and 9.7 kg digestible protein/100 kg DM.

Habitat: Eu-xerophyte. Present in mixed shrub and grassland communities on grey-brown, loessic deposit, loamy-clay soil and rarely on salt-marsh margin (ref: Kochia – clay ecotype), sandy soil, desert wadis (Kochia – sandy ecotype) and stony, calcareous, stony slopes (Kochia – stony ecotype).

Distribution: Middle Asia (Uzbekistan: Fergana Valley, Tashkent and Samarkand region, rarely south-west Kyzylkum, Karakalpakistan), southern part of Russia, southern Europe, Mediterranean region, Asia Minor, Iran, Afghanistan, Himalayas, Mongolia, Tibet and China.