Phlomis thapsoides (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Iris songarica
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Phlomis thapsoides (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Ziziphora tenuior
Phlomis thapsoides
Phlomis thapsoides


Phlomis thapsoides Bge

Local name:

  • Russian: Зопник коровяковидный, Фломис коровяковидный - zopnik korovjakobidnyj
  • Uzbek: Kuz-kulak, Kyzikulok

Chromosome number: 2n = 20 (Grif 1965; Fedorov 1969).

Description and morphology: Perennial plant (height 30–60 cm). Pivotal root system. Stem: thick, 4-angled, erect, much branched on upper side and densely covered with rigid scale-like hairs. Leaves: simple without scale leaves, opposite or seldom whorled, cordate or egg-shaped (13.0 cm long, 3.5 cm wide), large toothed at margins and clasping at base. Flowers: bisexual; light violet, irregular, disposed of 2–8 in whorl on flowering axis and assembled in spikes or headshaped dichasia; 4 stamens with a free filament. Pollen grain 3-celled. Ovary 2-lobed divided (shared) by a false partition; ana-campilotrous, unitegmic, tenui-nucellate ovule.

Reproduction: Sexual. Entomophilous. Parthenocarpy. Flowering: April–May. Fruit maturation: May–June. Fruit: fractional, breaking into four brown, glabrous 1-seeded nutlets. Seed: small with large, erect embryo. Dormancy A1–C1 type. Germination low. Long-term stratification (25 °C) for 1–1.5 months stimulates germination (up to 80%). Removal of fruit wall or chemical processing also increases germination rate.

Pastoral importance: When fresh, it is almost untouched by livestock; goats may eat flower heads. Unpalatability is probably because of a rich and rigid indumentum and high content of volatile oil. In autumn and winter, after rain, the dry plant is well consumed by small ruminants and camels. Gastric disease in sheep has been reported when eaten in large quantities. Sometimes successfully used for haymaking (good palatability) in Uzbekistan. Used for making silage in mixtures with Cousinia spp. Expected yield (green forage) is about 0.6–2.0 t/ha.

Fodder value: Forage contains (% DM): ash 7.1; cellulose 7–33; nitrogen-free extract 42.

Economic interest: Used as a dye.

Habitat: Common in ephemeral-herbaceous plant communities of semi-desert areas and steppes. Grows on loamy soil, irrigated crop fields as a weed (Bukhara) and also on stony slopes.

Distribution: Middle Asia (Pamir-Alai), Afghanistan and Mediterranean region.