Salsola lanata (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Salsola gemmascens
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Salsola lanata (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Salsola paletzkiana
Salsola lanata
Salsola lanata
Salsola lanata
Young seedlings of Salsola lanata on salty soils in Moyunkum (Kazakhstan)

Salsola lanata Pall.

Local name:

  • Russian: Климакоптера шерстистая (Солянка шерстистая), баллыккуз - klimakoptera šerstistaja (soljanka šerstistaja), ballykkuz
  • Uzbek: Ballyk-kuz, Boz-saran
  • Turkmen: Kush-gezy

Chromosome number: 2n = 18, 36 (Turner 1994).

Description and morphology: Annual, succulent, pale-coloured, herbaceous plant (height 10–60 cm), with erect branching from base, shoots covered with long woolly hairs. Pivotal root system to depth 50–80 cm. Leaves: except for lower leaves, alternate, fleshy, blunt, pubescent. Bracts lanceolate, pointed, hairy. Flowers: bisexual; single, sepaloid (5–lobed perianth), violet-coloured, assembled in a spike inflorescence. Anthers pink-violet, tetrathecae, elongated with inflated short appendage. Stigmas thick, short, papilliform. Ovule ana-campylotropous, crassi-nucellate, bitegmic.

Reproduction: Sexual. Anemophilous. Entomophilous also admitted. Apomixis, polyembryony and parthenocarpy (20–30%). Flowering: July–August. Fruit maturation: September– October. Fruit: dry, indehiscent, monospermous, winged, with thin membranous fruiting body. Bracts with fruits lanceolate, pointed, pubescent, assembled in a friable cone-shaped column. Wings overlapping, red: 3 orbicular, reniform, 2 narrow, almost linear (10–17 mm); wings horizontal, fine linear and veined. Seed: horizontal, orbicular, pale brown (2.9–3.8 mm), spiral, chlorophytic embryo (2.0–2.5 mm) with traces of endosperm. Seed coat two-layered with intermediate cuticle. Dormancy B1 type. Viable seeds: 85–92%. Field germination: 35–80%. Seed longevity 8–10 months. Light-sensitive. Dry storage for 6 months and stratification (3 °C) for 0.5–1 month or processing with gibberellic acid (25–250 mg/l) stimulate germination.

Pastoral importance: Valuable food for sheep, goats and camels. In mixtures with other shrubs and ephemeral desert species could be used for range improvement or rehabilitation of sandy and saline waterlogged areas. Grazed late spring or winter; not eaten during summer due to woolliness when dry, and/or strong smell. Well consumed by cattle in autumn-winter, usually the fruits, and as hay, when alkaline salts have been leached. Fruits used to fatten all livestock. Expected yield in dense stand 1.0–1.5 t/ha.

Fodder value: In green forage (% DM): crude protein 9–10; ash 35–38; cellulose 10–27; fat 2.2–4.0; nitrogen-free extract 21–32; vitamin C 3.7 g/kg; carotin 20.3 mg/kg. Macro-elements (g/kg): Ca 3.5–15.3; K 15.6–23.5; Mg 5.6–9.3; P 0.8–1.7; Na 91.9–158.0; Cl 112–123. Amino acid (g/kg): asparagine 12.0; glutamine 11.0, arginine 5.1; alanine 4.7. Fodder value estimated at 44 FU and 2.9 kg digestible protein/ 100 kg DM.

Habitat: Halophyte. Occurs on salty crusts on edges of salt-marshes (solonchak-alkaline soils), on clay and gypsum deserts, on takyr and saline sandy soils.

Distribution: Central Asia (Aral-Caspian regions, Amu-Darya and Syr-Darya valley, Kyzylkum, Karakum), Afghanistan, Iran, China and Mongolia.