Recently, a team of researchers from Gandhinagar-based Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation has discovered a new plant species called Salsola Oppositifolia Desfontani.
About Salsola Oppositifolia Desfontani:
- It is a species that belongs to the family of Amaranthaceae.
- It is a perennial shrub that grows in saline, arid to semi-arid environments.
- It is a succulent shrub that can grow one to two metres tall and have a smooth, cylindrical, woody base.
- It is rarely prostrate and unlike other species of Salsola, does not have any hairs.
- As the name oppositifolia suggests, the leaves of this plant grow opposite each other in the stem.
- It is a halophyte plant -a plant adapted to growing in saline conditions.
- This species, earlier known from Italy, Northern Africa, Palestine, Spain and Western Sahara.
- It has been reported for the first time from India based on the collection made from Khadir Bet, Kutch, Gujarat at 15.5-m altitude.
- It is the sixth species of Salsola genus to be discovered in India.
- Five other species of Salsola genus which have been recorded in India are Salsola kali, Salsola hatmanii, Salsola monoptera, Caroxylon imbricatum (Salsola baryosma) and Halogeton glomeratus (Salsola glomerata).
- Plants of the Salsola genus have salty juice stored in their leaves.
- Salsola oppositifolia is used as a raw material for manufacturing soda ash.
- Other Salsola species are used in manufacturing lye and soaps.
- Research has established that the species of this genus are rich in pharmacological properties also.
Q1) What are Halophytes?
Halophytes are plants that are adapted to thrive in high-salt environments, such as saltwater marshes, coastal areas, and salt flats. These plants have evolved unique physiological and biochemical adaptations that allow them to tolerate and even utilize the high levels of salt in their surroundings.