Saxaul is a woody plant that grows in deserts. When several trees grow nearby, they are called forests, although they are at a certain distance from each other and do not even create a shadow. The oldest trees can reach a height of 5-8 meters. The trunk of the plant is curved, but has a smooth surface, and can reach 1 meter in diameter. The crown of the trees is quite massive and green, but their leaves are presented in the form of scales, photosynthesis is carried out using green shoots. In the wind, saxaul branches flutter, falling down in cascades. When the plant blooms, it produces flowers ranging from pale pink to crimson. Although the tree looks fragile, it is firmly rooted in sandy, clay and rocky deserts with the help of a powerful root system.
Saxaul can be a shrub or a small tree. It belongs to the Marev subfamily, to the Amaranth family. The largest populations of this species can be found in the deserts of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, in China, Afghanistan and Iran.
Varieties of saxaul
The following types of saxaul can be found in various deserts:
A large shrub, reaches a height of 7 meters, has very long roots that feed on groundwater, so the shoots are saturated with moisture;
It grows up to 5 meters, has transparent scale leaves and thin stems with ash-colored branches, is a hardy plant, therefore it tolerates drought;
It has a very curved trunk, and the wood has a specific smell, it grows very slowly.
Saxaul is a forage plant for camels, which willingly eat leaves and branches. By cutting down these shrubs and trees, their wood is used in the woodworking industry. Also, during combustion, the saxaul releases a large amount of thermal energy, so it is often used as fuel.
As for the life cycle of saxaul, when cold weather sets in, it sheds its leaves-scales, branches fall. In early spring, the tree blooms with small flowers. Fruits ripen in autumn.
Saxaul is an unusual desert plant. This plant has its own biological features, since it adapts to the climate of deserts. It protects the sandy soil from the wind, somewhat preventing wind erosion. This allows the desert to preserve its natural ecosystem.