a genus of branchy bushes of the buckwheat (Polygonaceae) family. The young shoots are green, jointed, and almost without leaves. They appear in a cluster from the axils of woody branches. The leaves are small, threadlike or needlelike, and free or grown together, with cones. They fall early. The blossoms are bisexual, with simple perianths and one to three (sometimes five) trumpets in the axils. The fruit is a nut with tunicate or leathery wings or setae forming a circle.
There are more than 150 varieties of Calligonum, found in sandy deserts and the steppes of western Siberia, Middle Asia, Central Asia, the Near East, and North Africa. In the USSR there are 125 species (according to other sources, 54), chiefly in Kazakhstan and Middle Asia. The most widely found species are Gürke (C. aphyllum) and rushes (C. junceum). They are used for soil retention, and their wood is used for fuel. The green shoots and fruits are eaten by camels and sheep.
REFERENCEDerev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
S. K. CHEREPANOV