Three plant species listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan are found in the Kaplankyr State Nature Reserve and are protected by its staff.They are Salsola chiwensis, Malacocarpus crithmifolius, and Ammodendron eichwaldii (Eichwald sand acacia).
The Ustyurt Plateau has been home to Salsola chiwensis since ancient times.Reaching half a meter tall, this subshrub grows as an isolated plant and form thickets in the Plateau or in the Sarykamysh Depression.
Salsola chiwensis blooms in July and produces fruits in September.It is a relict species in the northern Turkmenistan that can be traced back to long-gone epochs.
Although the Eichwald sand acacia (a leguminous plant) can be quite tall, those species that call the area home look like small trees, growing on slopes in rocky, sandy and clay soils.
Often found on the banks of the Sarykamysh Lake, the sand acacia blossoms in April with indehiscent pods ripe in June.The plant is considered valuable as it is used in sand dune fixation.
Elderly people say that back in the past its stems were used to fix the walls of desert wells and a natural dye was obtained from the roots of the plant.
A beautiful subshrub, Malacocarpus crithmifolius, grows in the old riverbed of the Amudarya, in the picturesque Mergen-ashan Canyon or in the Botendag.Because of its nutritional value, medicinal properties and red juicy berries, the plant, which is rich in minerals and vitamins, is often called the Turkmen cranberry.
It is in bloom from May to June, and produces berries in summer.The plant is commonly cherished for its ability to tolerate ardent heat, and severe frosts that are not infrequent in the area.
According to specialists, the Kaplankyr Nature Reserve, located in the north-east of Turkmenistan, boasts 400 species of plants of different genera and families, including endemics.The Nature Reserve employees are systematically studying the plants, making massive efforts to preserve these species and to distribute some of them in a cultivated area of Dashoguz velayat.