plants in desert


Nearly tens kinds of wild onions, other plants inscribed into Endangered Species List of Turkmenistan turn green and over 20 most beautiful Radde‘s hazel grouse blossom out their bellflowers on accurate beds on experimental plot of the Research Institutes of Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan.

Eight bushes of endemic of Sunt-Hasardag State Nature Reserve and relict representative of the country’s flora – Turkmen mandrake grow among the grass, reported the state news agency of Turkmenistan.

In Turkmen flora, mandrake is one of ancient plants belonging to Solanaceae family. Its dark blue flowers appear in the middle of November and fruits ripen by the second decade of June. With coming of spring, the growth of leaves gradually stops and with coming of hot days, the plant retires until next autumn. In wild nature, mandrake grows only in south-west Kopetdag in mountain gorges of Magtymguly etrap of Balkan province, appearing near another endemic of local place – high and extremely thorny brushwood Christ’s-thorn in the gorges Dagdanly, Altybay, Hozly, Sunt, Sarymsakly. Fruit of mandrake looks very much like unripe berry of tomato. One of such “berry” has 7-9 seeds. All species of mandrake are toxic as all parts of the plant (roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits) contain alkaloids. These properties of the plant were applied in ancient medicine as anaesthetic remedy.

The specialists of the Institute of Botany of the Academy of Sciences of the country are engaged within several years in introduction and cultivation of the Turkmen mandrake in hot and arid conditions of Ashgabat. Mandrake blossoms out at the age of over 12 years old. On the experimental plot, the plants will blossom out not soon, because they are so small. During several years, the scientists observe the fact of flowering of mandrake in Ashgabat in Botanic Garden.