Lycium turcomanicum (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Verbascum songoricum
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Lycium turcomanicum (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Reaumuria alternifolia
Lycium turcomanicum
Lycium turcomanicum
Lycium turcomanicum
Lycium turcomanicum
Lycium barbarum

Lycium turcomanicum Turcz. ex Miers

Local name:

  • Russian: Дереза туркестанская - dereza turkestanskaja
  • Turkmen: Kyzgan
  • Kazakh: Ak-Tken
  • Uzbek: Ok Chingil

Chromosome number: 2n = 24 (Fedorov 1969).

Description and morphology: Perennial shrub (height 60–1.25 m), very prickly-thorny, much branched with whitish stems and deciduous leaves. Root system grows to depth 1.5–2 m. Leaves: alternate, elliptic-oblong (5–20 mm long, 3–7 mm wide) with entire margins, on short petioles, located in dense clusters around prickles. Flowers: bisexual; pentamerous, white-light purple, in axillary clusters of 1–6 in cyme inflorescence. Pollen grain 2-celled. Ovary superior, polyspermous.

Reproduction: Sexual. Cross-entomophilous. Apomixis, parthenocarpy, polyembryony. Flowering: April–July. Fruit maturation: May– September. Fruit: black, luscious berries (3–4 mm diameter), sweet with (sometimes) unpleasant taste. Seed: small with curved arched embryo, surrounded by large endosperm. Seed coat thick, compact. Dormancy B2 type. Germinates without special preparation, but stratification (5 °C) for 2–4 months improves germination. Germinates usually with treatment at 20 °C (18 hours) or 30 °C (6 hours).

Pastoral importance: Accessible green leaves and ripe fruits well grazed by all livestock. However, in summer, during lignification of annual growth, consumption is significantly reduced; in autumn-winter, sheep and goats cautiously select fallen leaves. Most leaves and green material remain inaccessible inside bush because of its thorns.

Economic interest: A good honey-making plant due its long flowering period. Suitable for live impenetrable fences. Burns well, but because of its strong prickles it is extremely awkward to use. Sweet berries sometimes are delicacies for children.

Habitat: Xerophyte. Phreatophyte. Common on edges of cultivated fields, river banks, dry river beds and takyr flats. Does not tolerate salinity. Found as individual plants or in dense impenetrable thickets.

Distribution: Central Asia and Irano-Turanian region. Other species extend from North Africa to China (especially L. barbarum L., cultivated for its valuable red berries as sweets and in traditional dishes).

Other: Lycium sp.