Alhagi


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Alhagi

 

(camel’s thorn), a genus of plants of the family Leguminosae. The members of the genus are short branchy semishrubs or perennial herbs. Red or rose-colored flowers are set in leaf axils on the thorns. There are seven species, mainly in the deserts and semideserts of Eurasia and North Africa; in the USSR there are five species.

The most widely distributed is common camel’s thorn (A. pseudoalhagi), a semishrub 40-120 cm high with a large vertical taproot system that reaches groundwater. It forms thickets in the steppes, deserts, and semideserts of Middle Asia, in the semideserts of the southwest European part of the USSR (in Astrakhan’ Oblast), and in the Caucasus. It is a valuable feed plant, liked especially by camels. Camel’s thorn is widely used as a fuel and is one of the main nectariferous plants of arid regions. Camel’s thorn is often a troublesome weed in flower beds. Persian camel’s thorn (A. persarum), which grows in the Caucasus, Middle Asia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Asia Minor, secretes a gluelike sugary liquid that hardens in the form of cereal (manna).

REFERENCES

Kormovye rasteniia senokosov i pastbishch SSSR, vol. 2. Edited by I. V. Larin. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
Gushchin, P. O. Biologiia iantaka (Alhagi). Tashkent, 1956.

M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV

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