Ladakh Saxaul
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Ladakh Saxaul
P Native Unknown Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Ladakh Saxaul
Botanical name: Haloxylon thomsonii    Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)
Synonyms: Arthrophytum thomsonii, Hammada thomsonii

Ladakh Saxaul is a small shrublet up to 30 cm with a robust caudex, branched from the base. Flowers are borne singly in the axil of the bract. Tepals are greenish, 5, at fruiting stage with wings 2.0-2.5 x 2.5-3.5 mm, purple or lilac turning brownish. Anthers are 5, about 1 mm long, ovate, without an appendage at the tip. Style is short, 0.25 mm with 2-3 stigmas of the same length. Bracts are usually longer or equal to the flowers. Stems are hairless or very shortly papillate, with two furrows. Lower leaves are up to 3.0-3.5 cm long, fleshy, semi-round, appressed to the stem or rarely recurved with clusters of hairs in their axils, without mucro or with a hardly noticeable mucro at the top. Fruit is whitish, depressed round, about 1.5 mm in diameter. Ladakh Saxaul is found in rocky areas, semi-deserts and deserts at high elevations at altitudes of 3500-5200 m, only in Ladakh and some neighboring areas. Flowering: July-September.

Identification credit: Miroslav Dvorsky Photographed at Magnetic Hill, Leh, Ladakh.

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