Psoralea drupacea (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Halimodendron halodendron
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Psoralea drupacea (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Robinia pseudacacia
Psoralea drupacea
Psoralea drupacea

Psoralea drupacea Bge

Local name:

  • Russian: Псоралея костянковая, оккурай - psoraleja kostjankovaja, okkuraj
  • Uzbek: Ok-kuray

Chromosome number: 2n = 20, 22 (Fedorov 1969).

Description and morphology: Perennial herb (height 0.5–1.5 m); tar-smelling weed, hairy. Pivotal root system, thick, penetrating to depth 5.0 m. Stem: annual (up to 130 cm long), erect, striate, slightly pubescent, much branched. Leaves: alternate, entire, long-petiolate, 3-foliate, ovate-orbicular or ternate with finely toothed margins, sticky, covered with punctuate glands. Stipules (0.6–1.2 cm) narrowly lanceolate. Flowers: bisexual; light blue, small, manyflowered, assembled in raceme. Calyx with long setaceous teeth; corolla hardly exceeding calyx, white-lilac-blue. Ovary sub-stipitate, pubescent; stigma slightly flattened. Vegetative growth begins in March.

Reproduction: Sexual. Entomophilous. Flowering: May–July. Fruit maturation: July– September. Fruit: grooved, slightly pubescent, indehiscent, monospermous pod with a long sword-shaped beak; pericarp adnate to the seed or free. Seed: dark brown, oblong or obliquely reniform with large embryo without endosperm. Seed coat compact, water impermeable. Dormancy Af type. Germination low: 12–18%. Chemical treatment with sulphuric acid recommended (30 minutes at 24–28 °C).

Pastoral importance: An invader (sign of range degradation) and a problem on native pastures for livestock owners. In vegetative green condition, poorly or not grazed at all. Flowers and fruits consumed by all livestock in summer; fallen leaves, pods and seeds consumed eagerly in autumn. Dry forage well consumed by camels and sheep after frost. Reputed to cause abortion when grazed by pregnant ewes. On the adyr and when climate is favourable, expected yield is about 0.1–0.25 t/h (with 5000–8000 plant/ha). Pod harvest is about 0.015–0.09 t/ha. When mixed with other forage range plants can be used occasionally for silage.

Fodder value: At flowering contains (% DM): protein 21; fat 2.7; cellulose 20; ash 7.6. Roots and fruits contain furocoumarin (psoralene and isopsoralene); fruits also contain volatile oil. Seeds contain drupacine. Causes sterility and disrupt rams’ spermatogenesis if consumed in excess.

Economic interest: Medicinal as a treatment for skin diseases, coarse fibroid, resinous plant also used for industrial oil and honey production. Root extract is widely used in medicine, tobacco, brewery, agro-food industries, as well as for tanning skin and dyeing pelts.

Habitat: Dominant in pastures and in ephemeroid plant communities. Most frequently found on adyr pastures, foothill and sandy plains.

Distribution: Central Asia and Kazakhstan, Mediterranean region and Iran.