Included here is the Indus Plain comprising the Province of Sind (Pakistan), the plains of Punjab, the Thar Desert, Hariana, western Rajasthan and Northern Gujarat.

Sindian Calligonum Desert Scrub

The semi-stable dunes of fine sand in some of the more arid parts of the Thar Desert, where annual rainfall is less than 400 mm, support mainly shrubby vegetation dominated by the near endemic Calligonum polygonoides (Polygonaceae) together with clumps of the endemic grass Panicum turgidum (Poaceae). Both are well adapted to such conditions and play an important sand-binding role. Calligonum produces rope-like roots that can extend laterally for up to 20 m and from these it can create so-called ‘rainroots’, which are fine surfaces feeders able to absorb water from light showers. Panicum turgidum can acquire an evergreen growth form when there is a plentiful supply of water, but adopts a deciduous form, losing its aerial parts over dry summers or even over several years with scarce or no rain - soon after a shower new buds rapidly sprout. Other characteristic species are Aerva javanica, Cyperus arenarius, Dipterygium glaucum, Indogofera cordifolia, Leptodenia pyrotechnica, and several endemic or near endemics such as Aerva pseudo-tomentosa (Amaranthaceae), Blepharis sindica (Acanthaceae), Crotalaria burhia (Fabaceae), Euphorbia jodhpurensis (Euphorbiaceae), Hypoxylon salicornicum (family?), Rhynchosia arenaria (Fabaceae), Tephrosia falciformis (Fabaceae) and Trianthema pentendra (Aizoaceae). In parts of the Nara Desert, which forms the northern part of the Thar Desert, Calligonum polygonoides and Dipterygium glaucum together with the tree Salvadora oleoides co-dominate the desert scrublands. The hummocky dunes here are the main feature of the habitat and can range in size from a few metres to over 80 metres. Other characteristic species include the shrub Aerva javanica and trees such as Capparis decidua, Tamarix aphylla and the endemic Prosopis cineraria (Mimosaceae).

Sindian Farsetia hamiltonia-Stipagrostis plumosa Desert Scrub

Studies in protected areas of the Cholistan Desert in the Laisuhanra National Park have shown that the near natural vegetation here is dominated by Farsetia hamiltonia and Stipagrostis plumosa. Other characteristic species include Aeluropus lagopoides, Capparis decidua, Cymbopogon jwarencusa, Haloxylon salicornicum, Suaeda fruticosa and the endemic or near endemic Calligonum polygonoides (Polygonaceae), Lasiurus scindicus (Fabaceae) and Prosopis cineraria (Mimosaceae). Less common taxa are Diptergynium glaucum, Cenchrus ciliaris, Eragrostis barrelieri, Heliotropium strigosum, Leptodenia pyrotechnica, Ochthochloa compressa and Tribulus longipetalus.

Sindian Prosopis Desert Scrub-Woodland

On gravel deserts or on more stabilized dunes, small trees of the endemic Prosopis cineraria (Fabaceae) occur together with scattered shrubs of Capparis decidua, Salvadora oleoides and Zizyphus nummularia. An adaption to arid conditions by many desert perennial is to have deeply penetrating roots, and in the case of Prosopis its roots can extend down to 20 m or so to reach permanently wet soil. Other associated species include Amaranthus blitum, Azadirachta indica, Balanites aegyptiaca, Butea monosperma, Digera arvensis, Calotropis procera, Cassa auriculata, Clerodendron phlomoides, Echinops echinatos, Ephretia laevis, Euphorbia caducifolia, Flacourtia indica, Heliotropium paniculatum, Hypoxylon recurvum, Oropetum thomaeum, Rhus mysorensis, Saccharum bengalense, Tamarix dioica, Zizyphus rugosa, and various endemic species such as Acacia jacquemontii, A. modesta (Fabaceae), Farsetia jacquemontii (Brassicaceae), Maerua arenaria (Capparidaceae) and Pulicaria angustifolia (Asteraceae)


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