Rheum turkestanicum (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Calligonum setosum
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Rheum turkestanicum (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Tortula desertorum
Rheum turkestanicum in Karakum (Turkmenistan)
Rheum turkestanicum
Rheum tataricum
Rheum tataricum in Moyunkum (Kazakhstan)
Rheum tataricum

Rheum turkestanicum Janisch.

Local name:

  • Russian: Ревень татарский - reven' tatarskij
  • Uzbek: Japyrak, Rivoch, Otkulok, Tuyayoprok
  • Turkmen: Eskhen

Chromosome number: 2n = 22, 44 (Menshikova 1964b).

Description and morphology: Perennial, ephemeroid large herb (height 25–60 cm) robust, with woody base and large leaves. Root well developed, bulbiferous. Stalk: scapose, reddish, strong, furrow-shaped, hollow (45–50 cm long). Leaves: (up to 100 cm wide), long stalked, entire, alternate, flat on ground, blade very large (90–110 cm wide), palmate, prominently nerved, about 3–5 on plant, radical, orbicular in basal rosettes; upper surface of leaves glabrous; lower surface has dense short hairs. Flowers: bisexual; pale yellowish or red, assembled by 2–3, forming large, branched, scapose, terminal spike with spherical inflorescence (30–50 cm diameter). Perianth 3–6, greenish, free.

Reproduction: Sexual. Flowering: April–May. Fruit maturation: May. Fruit: nutlets, triquetrous dark red-brown with broad papery wings.

Pastoral importance: Excellent fodder plant; large succulent leaves and young inflorescences well grazed by all livestock. When abundant, camels can manage without water for 4–5 days up to 2 weeks. Fresh leaves are rich in sugar (up to 6%). Often collected and used for silage with the addition of straw. On dense stands, expected yield is about 0.25–0.50 t DM/ha, roots about 5 t DM/ha.

Fodder value: Green forage during vegetation period (% DM): protein 20; cellulose 20; fat 5.0.

Economic interest: Roots and fruits contain valuable tannins and colouring substances (orange-red) used for processing skins. Used also in traditional medicine as a treatment for gastric diseases (purgative); tincture from fruits and roots used as a blood coagulant (stauncher).

Habitat: Meso-xerophyte. Occurs in patches of many plants on sandy soils and fixed sand dunes; also on grey-brown sandy soils, sierozem and occasionally on saline flats. Often found in open association with Artemisia, Haloxylon and Salsola arbuscula plant communities.

Distribution: Middle and Central Asia (Irano-Turanian region).

Other: Rheum sp.