Salsola richteri (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Salsola paulsenii
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Salsola richteri (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Salsola rigida
Salsola richteri
Salsola richteri
Salsola richteri
Salsola richteri
Salsola richteri in Karakum (Turkmenistan)

Salsola richteri Karel. ex Moq.

Local name:

  • Russian: Солянка Рихтера - soljanka Rihtera
  • Turkmen: Cherkez
  • Uzbek: Cherkez, Kata-kara

Chromosome number: 2n = 18, 36, 72 (Japakova unpublished data).

Description and morphology: Microphylous, tree-like bush (height 1.5–2 m, rarely 3–4 m), with light grey bark, white young stems, spreading branches. Pivotal root deeply penetrating to depth 5–12 m. Life span 25–30 years. Leaves: alternate, almost thread-like (4–8 cm) pointed at tip. Bracteoles very short, edged, bordered, narrow ended, shortly pointed.

Reproduction: Sexual and vegetative (cuttings). Flowering: June–August. Fruit maturation: September–October. Fruit: nut-like, monocarpous (9.8–18 mm). Upper perianth flat, grey, rigid; constricted in middle in friable column. Wings horizontal colourless, seldom pink or grey (10–15 mm); membranous linear or inverse oval-shaped, fine venation. Dormancy A2-B1 type. Viable seeds: 78–95%. Germination rate: 56–68%. Light/dark sequence with alternate (15/28 °C) or freezing temperatures stimulates germination. Treatment with gibberellic acid is also effective. Seed longevity 1.4–1.6 years.

Pastoral importance: Stems, fruits and leaves well grazed by camels all year round; sheep and goats prefer it in summer. Widely used for the creation of agro-phytocoenoses and/or range improvement on sandy soils in semi-desert conditions. Good sand-fixing plant. In Uzbekistan, it is an excellent component of pastoral belts. Forage biomass yields are about 0.6–1.3 t DM/ha on sand desert.

Fodder value: Rich in protein but varies during the seasons. In the vegetative phase (% DM): protein 9–28; small quantity of cellulose 15–25%; fat 1.7–3.2; ash 17–20; nitrogenfree extract 33–54%. Micro-elements (g/kg): Na 4.5–28; K 23–46; Ca 6.4–23. Rich in various amino acids. Flower and fruits contain an alkaloid, salsolin, which induces digestive disorders.

Habitat: Psammo-xerophyte. Usually grows on fixed sand and barkhans, as well as on greybrown sandy soils of south part of Kyzylkum.

Economic interest: Medicinal (the alkaloid salsolin is used for lowering blood pressure); dye (brown and yellow dye from fresh leaves) for carpets and wool. Decorative plant.

Distribution: Only in southern part of Middle Asia, Iran and Afghanistan.