Tariyel H. Talibov

DOI: 10.30546/abc.2022.1.1.9

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Institute of Bioresources of ANAS, Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan


Abstract. İn article, Colutea komarovii Takht. distributed in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, its position in the world flora and the phytocenoses formed by it are presented. At the result of conducted studies, due to the small population of this species and negative effects of zoogenic and anthropogenic factors it has been included in the protection status of Critically Endangered -CR B1ac (ii,iv); C2a(i) as a rare species. The condition of the species in nature has worsened due to the effects of continuous drought during last 3 years. This species was introduced in the collection of rare plants in the Botanical Garden and Institute of Dendrology.


Keywords: Colutea komarovii Takht., Nakhchivan AR, biological properties, rare species, phytocenosis



Introduction. Flora of Azerbaijan Republic occupies one of the most important places among the natural resources due to its biodiversity. The territory of Nakhchivan AR is also one of the selected regions in the Caucasus due to its soil-climate and orographic characteristics. Along with the vertical zonation (600-3906 m a.s.l.), the presence of many different landscapes has caused to the creation of a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna in the area. Currently, according to our research in the territory of Nakhchivan AR, there are 3020 species of higher plants belonging to 160 families and 910 genera, which is 60.4% of the flora (5000 species) of the Republic [Talibov and Ibrahimov, 2021].

Discussion. The conducted studies showed that it is appropriate to include about 300 species of higher plants in the republished Red Book of Azerbaijan Republic, which the vast majority of those species were included in the Red Book of the former USSR at its period. Most of the rare or endangered species are represented by the only species within the genus. – 262 species belonging to 47 genera were found in the Leguminosae family (Fabaceae Lindl. family of Fabales Bromhead order, 1836 nom. cons. (= Leguminosae Juss., nom. cons.)) in the territory of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Most of the species are of economic importance. In the territory of Nakhchivan AR three species which belong to the genus Colutea L. were found: Colutea cilicica Boiss. & Bal., Colutea orientalis Mill. and Colutea komarovii Takht. Among these species, Colutea cilicica Boiss. & Bal. is found in cultivated form, and others in nature. Colutea komarovii Takht. was considered an endemic plant of Azerbaijan and was included as a rare species at the Red Book of the former USSR and our Republic, and at the same time of Nakhchivan AR [Talibov and Ibrahimov 2010].

Colutea L. is a small genus that includes thorny shrubs or small trees with swollen capsule-like fruits. There are about 30 species distributed in the Mediterranean region, up to China, Himalayas, Northern and Southern Africa, mainly in arid zone mountains [Lock & Simpson, 1991]. 13 species in the territory of the former USSR [Sokolov and Shipchinsky, 1958] is indicated. From them 6 species are found in the Caucasus [Grossheim, 1952], 5 species (one species is cultivated) in Azerbaijan [Flora of Azerbaijan 1954], 2 species in Georgia [Flora of Georgia 1981].


Picture. Colutea komarovii  –  Flowers, fruits and seeds.






Currently, there are 3 species of the genus in the territory of Nakhchivan AR, including new species discovered by us. 13 species belonging to the genus Colutea have been found in the Iranian plateau, five of which are endemic.

For the first time, the Colutea komarovii was collected and described on June 24, 1929 by A.V. Shelkownikov and E. Gara Mirza from the dry, stony, gravelly, poorly vegetated slopes of Chaggal Mountain (the local population calls it Yellow Hill) on the right side of the stony road between the city of Ordubad and the village of Kotam.

In 1979, A. Sagatelyan noted that this species was found on the border between Kotam village of Ordubad region and Mehri village belonging to Armenia, but since 1984, we have conducted observations on this species with the aim of discovering new distribution biotopes. Our searches showed the absence of this species in the mentioned area. A. Sagatelyan’s second mistake is that he did not know that there is Kilit village between Kotam village and Mehri village. In our opinion, A. Sagatelyan wanted to mention about the Chaggal Mountain (Yellow Hill) between Ordubad and Kotam village. Thus, this species is spread only in one place, including the territories of the former USSR – on the Chaggal mountain, located near Kotam village of Ordubad district, at an altitude of 857 m above sea level. During conducted researches, new distribution zones of Colutea komarovii were identified, so we determined that the Colutea komarovii developed in the Alkar Rock near Chaggal Mountain and on the hills adjacent to it. F. Ghahremaninejad and M.A. Ghahremani for the first time collected Colutea komarovii species near the Araz River in Northern Iran. Those areas are close to the mentioned areas on the banks of the Araz river, in Ordubad region.

It is a bush with a height of 1-1.5 m and a particularly beautiful appearance when it blooms. The bark of its branches is smooth, its branches are thorn-like. The leaves are small, one, sometimes 2 pairs. The leaves are single, rarely bipinnataly, round or elliptic in shape, obtuse-pointed, 4-5 mm in length and 3-4 mm in weight, thick, finely wrinkled and sparsely, but densely hairy. The calyx is bell-shaped, the teeth are sharp. The corolla has a beautiful shape, the banner is red with a yellowish line, and the keel is with a reddish-yellowish line, and the nail is bigger than the calyx. Crescent-shaped wings are pressed into the keel. In the corolla petals, the nails are about equal, but the nail of the oval-shaped banner is larger than the calyx. Calyx wide, tubular or bell-shaped, covered with short, dense black or whitish hairs, teeth almost equal in length or two upper teeth shorter. 9 of the stamens are united and one is free. The ovary is on a freely visible pedicel, the ovules are numerous, the upper part of the style is bent into a hook shape. There are 5-6, and sometimes many seeds in a pod located on the stalk, which twists open from the tip as it ripens. The seed is kidney-shaped, naked, has a long stalk-shaped leg and is 18-22 mm long and 15 mm wide.

During our observation, we found out that the plant sprouted on April 8, flowered singly on April 17, and on May 15, there were flowers and newly formed seeds on it. While following the biology of the species, we discovered that the flowering continues intermittently, so that a bud, flower and fruit can be on the bush at the same time. Partial flowering is characteristic of almost all plants living in the harsh continental climate zone, because if return frosts destroy the opened flowers, after a few days the newly opened flowers are enough to produce seeds. Flowering with such intervals should be considered characteristic for Nakhchivan AR, which has a harsh continental climate. At the base of the bush there are many capsules of plant from last year. It reproduces by seeds. It is an important species for decoration and selection. It is a xerophyte.

Atropatan is included in the geographical area type. The vegetation which Colutea komarovii is also included belongs to mountain-xerophyte (frigana) vegetation, and the following species have been noted in the phytocenosis, formed at the lowest border of the autonomous republic. Although the dominance of the phytocenosis here is played by Colutea komarovii, other groups of plants, especially ephemerals and ephemeroids, are widespread, sometimes semi-desert elements are also found. In this vegetation type, Rhamnus pallasii Fisch. et C.A. May., Zygophyllum atriplicoides Fisch. et C.A. Mey., Ephedra procer Fisch et C.A. Mey., Reaumuria persica (Boiss.) Boiss., Artemisia lerchiana Web., Astracantha microcephala (Willd.) Podlech, Astracantha aurea (Willd.) Podlech, Atraphaxis spinosa L., Acanthophyllum pungens (Bunge) Boiss., Onobrychis cornuta (L.) Desv., Peganum harmala L., Geranium tuberosum L., Papaver persicum Lindl., Hypericum scabrum L., Thymus kotschyanus Boiss. et Hohen., Teucrium polium L., Plantago lanceolata L., also Tulipa florenskyi Woronow, T. julia C.Koch, Ziziphora biebersteiniana Grossh., Glaucium elegans Fisch. et C.A. May., Stipa szovitsiana L., Aegilops cylindrica Host. etc. have been noted.

Colutea komarovii has no natural reserve as it spreads in limited areas on the rocky, dry stony-pebble slopes of the middle mountain belt, and at the same time it is included in conservation status CR B1ac(ii,iv) ;C2a(i) as a critically endangered species due to its small population and the negative impact of zoogenic and anthropogenic factors. The condition of the species in nature has worsened due to the effects of continuous drought in the last 3 years. It was introduced by us in the collection of rare plants in the Botanical garden of the Institute of Bioresources, and at the same time it was given to the Institute of Dendrology for introduction.




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