Agriophyllum arenarium M.Bieb.
Agriophyllum gobicum Bunge
Agriophyllum mongolicum Moq.
Agriophyllum pungens (Vahl) Link ex A.Dietr.
Corispermum pungens Vahl
Common Name: Sand Rice
Agriophyllum squarrosum is an erect, spiny annual plant, branched from the base, that can grow 20 - 100cm tall[
The plant is of considerable food value to nomads, who harvest the seeds from the wild and also cultivate it[
]. The plant can be recommended for cultivation on sandhills[
E. Asia - Caucasus, through central Asia to Mongolia and northern China.
Dunes and sandy places in northern China[
]. Growing in groups on sands, mostly shifting and especially hummocky sands, also at the foot of barchan dunes[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Agriophyllum squarrosum is a plant of arid and semi-arid areas in continental Asia. As an annual, it should be poosible to cultivate it in temperate areas where the summers are not wet - such as the Mediterranean.
The plant is likely to require a very well drained soil and a sunny position[
A yield of up to 30 kilos of seed and about 2,000 kilos of herbage can be obtained from one hectare[
Seed - raw or cooked[
]. An important local food for nomads[
], it is usesd as a bread substitute; as a mealy supplement to sour milk; and is also roasted and eaten on its own[
]. The seed is also eaten by non-nomadic people, who use it as an emergency food in famine years[
]. The seeds contain around 16.36% protein; 5.2% fat; and 60% carbohydrates - it provides 343 calories per 100 grams of available nutrients and thus compares favorably with wheat flour, which has 344 calories[
The oil extracted from the seeds resembles sunflower oil in taste and sesame oil in composition[
The plant usually grows in groups, mainly on loose sands and, as such, helps to prevent erosion[
Seed - we have no information for this species but would recommend sowing the seed in the spring. If you have sufficient seed, then an outdoor sowing in situ in late spring would probably work, otherwise sow the seed in containers in a greenhouse in early spring, pricking out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and planting them out in late spring after the last expected frost[