Sindian vegetation

Plant Formations in the Sindian BioProvince
Peter Martin Rhind
Sindian Mobile Sand Dune Formations
Sand dunes are one of the characteristic features of this BioProvince. Their topography varies from undulating to moderately steep and dunes can reach elevations of up to 120 m. They also have free drainage and so tend to be very barren. In the Nara Desert, a study of sand dune vegetation distinguished between crest habitat and slope / flank habitat. In the former only psammophytes or sand-loving plants were able to survive. These included Aerva javanica, Aristida adscensionis, A. funiculata, Cyperus arenarius, C. conglomeratus, Dipterygium glaucum, Indigofera argentea, Limeum indicum, Stipagrostis plumosa, Tribulus longipetalis and the endemic or near endemic Cal igonum polygonoides (Polygonaceae), Lasiurus sindicus, Panicum turgida (Poaceae) and Crotolaria burhia (Fabaceae). Dune flanks and slopes also support many of the above-mentioned psammophytes but also include a few trees such as Capparis decidua, Salvadora oleodes, Tamarix aphylla and the endemic Prosopis cineraria (Mimosaceae). Sindian Calligonum Desert Scrub
The semi-stable dunes of fine sand in some of the more arid parts of the Thar Desert, where annual rainfal is less than 400 mm, support mainly shrubby vegetation dominated by the near endemic Cal igonum polygonoides (Polygonaceae) together with clumps of the endemic grass Panicum turgidum (Poaceae). Both are wel adapted to such conditions and play an important sand-binding role. Cal igonum produces rope-like roots that can extend lateral y for up to 20 m and from these it can create so-cal ed ‘rainroots’, which are fine surfaces feeders able to absorb water from light showers. Panicum turgidum can acquire an evergreen growth form when there is a plentiful supply of water, but adopts a deciduous form, losing its aerial parts over dry summers or even over several years with scarce or no rain - soon after a shower new buds rapidly sprout. Other characteristic species are Aerva javanica, Cyperus arenarius, Dipterygium glaucum, Indogofera cordifolia, Leptodenia pyrotechnica, and several endemic or near endemics such as Aerva pseudo-tomentosa (Amaranthaceae), Blepharis sindica (Acanthaceae), Crotalaria burhia (Fabaceae), Euphorbia jodhpurensis (Euphorbiaceae), Hypoxylon salicornicum (family?), Rhynchosia arenaria (Fabaceae), Tephrosia falciformis (Fabaceae) and Trianthema pentendra (Aizoaceae). In parts of the Nara Desert, which forms the northern part of the Thar Desert, Cal igonum polygonoides and Dipterygium glaucum together with the tree Salvadora oleoides co-dominate the desert scrublands. The hummocky dunes here are the main feature of the habitat and can range in size from a few metres to over 80 metres. Other characteristic species include the shrub Aerva javanica and trees such as Capparis decidua, Tamarix aphylla and the endemic Prosopis cineraria (Mimosaceae). Sindian Farsetia hamiltonia-Stipagrostis plumosa Desert Scrub
Studies in protected areas of the Cholistan Desert in the Laisuhanra National Park have shown that the near natural vegetation here is dominated by Farsetia hamiltonia and Stipagrostis plumosa. Other characteristic species include Aeluropus lagopoides, Capparis decidua, Cymbopogon jwarencusa, Haloxylon salicornicum, Suaeda fruticosa and the endemic or near endemic Cal igonum polygonoides (Polygonaceae), Lasiurus scindicus (Fabaceae) and Prosopis cineraria (Mimosaceae). Less common taxa are Diptergynium glaucum, Cenchrus ciliaris, Eragrostis barrelieri, Heliotropium strigosum, Leptodenia pyrotechnica, Ochthochloa compressa and Tribulus longipetalus. Copyright 2010 Peter Martin Rhind
Sindian Prosopis Desert Scrub-Woodland
On gravel deserts or on more stabilized dunes, smal trees of the endemic Prosopis cineraria (Fabaceae) occur together with scattered shrubs of Capparis decidua, Salvadora oleoides and Zizyphus nummularia. An adaption to arid conditions by many desert perennial is to have deeply penetrating roots, and in the case of Prosopis its roots can extend down to 20 m or so to reach permanently wet soil. Other associated species include Amaranthus blitum, Azadirachta indica, Balanites aegyptiaca, Butea monosperma, Digera arvensis, Calotropis procera, Cassa auriculata, Clerodendron phlomoides, Echinops echinatos, Ephretia laevis, Euphorbia caducifolia, Flacourtia indica, Heliotropium paniculatum, Hypoxylon recurvum, Oropetum thomaeum, Rhus mysorensis, Saccharum bengalense, Tamarix dioica, Zizyphus rugosa, and various endemic species such as Acacia jacquemonti , A. modesta (Fabaceae), Farsetia jacquemonti (Brassicaceae), Maerua arenaria (Capparidaceae) and Pulicaria angustifolia (Asteraceae) Sindian Acacia-Capparis Savannah
In less arid areas with annual rainfal up to 750 mm species of Acacia dominate the landscape. These are mainly Acacia nilotica subsp. indica, A. nilotica subsp. cupressiformis, and the near endemic Acacia leucophloea (Fabaceae), together with Capparis decidua. These usual y have a wide-open canopy with a ground layer of tal grasses such as Apluda mutica, Cenchrus ciliaris, Dichanthium annulatum, Eleusine compressa, Eremopogon faveolatus, and the endemic or near endemic Dactyloctenium sindicum and Lasiurus sindicus (Poaceae). Sindian Anogeissus Forest
In the hil s, such as in the Araval i Range, there are remnants of a once widespread deciduous forest dominated by Anogeissus pendula. It is commonly associated with either Acacia senegal in the drier zones or Acacia catechu in the more humid zones, but depending on the area other species may form co-dominants. Common associates include Barleria prionites, Grewia tenax, Maytenus emarginata, Sarcostemma acidum, Securinega leucopyrus, and the near endemic Dipteracanthus patulus (Acanthaceae). Other endemics may include Anogeissus sericea (Combretaceae). Sindian Phragmites-Typha-Saccharum Wetland
On the banks of the Nara Canal in the Nara Desert these wetlands are dominated by Phragmites karka, Typha elephantina and Saccharum bengalense. Other frequently encountered species include Brachiaria eruciformis, Cyperus difformis, C. iria, C. rotundus, Fimbristylis acuminata, Oxystelma esculentum and Populus euphratica. Less common taxa are Alysicarpus scariosus, Bergia aestivosa, Corchorus trilocularis, Cucumis melo var. agrestis, Dichanthium annulatum, Echinochloa crusgal i, Eclipta prostrata, Hydril a verticil ata, Ipomaea eriocarpa, Launaea procumbens, Persicaria barbata, Phyla nodiflora, Phyllanthus reticulatus, Rhynchosia minima, Sesbania bispinosa and Solanum surattense. Further information required. References

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Copyright 2010 Peter Martin Rhind


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