Calligonum comosum (CC)
Calligonum comosum (literature/pictures), is found in a wide range of the region of the Arabian peninsula, ME, Persia, Balochistan, and Thar desert. It is much liked by the livestock, especially the camels. It is very beautiful during the blossom period. The plant has very effective health benefits and is locally known as an herb, known as ارطي in Arabic.
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Virtually leafless perennial shrub up to 2.5m tall, stem much-branched from a thick woody rootstock. Main stems are dark and rough often with peeling bark, older branches white with swollen nodes, less rough but angular and fragile, and often dropping. Twigs slender, dark green looks from a distance like long trailing hairs. A very flowering bush, blossoms in pleasant weather (December to April), red and yellowish-green both types of flowers are found in CC.
Habitat and ethnoecological role
Found in sandy plains, dunes, and roadsides, globally distributed around northeast Africa, Egypt, Sinai, Palestine, Arabia to Pakistan. This species is an excellent desert sand binder, cultivated and used for windbreaks around desert plantations.
Used as firewood, as it burns smokelessly. Dried leaves and stems are chewed to treat stomach problems and toothache. It is edible as the tender shoots are collected as salad greens or powdered to add to milk as a tonic or flavoring. The fruits are also edible. The shoots are also used for the tanning of hides. CC is the food of choice for camels and goats, therefore, I call it camels’ icecream.
Save the Shrub
The newly germinated shrubs of the CC must be protected. They germinate very quickly after a shower and grow very faster.