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Desert hyacinths: an obscure solution to a global problem?

Thorogood, C. J., Leon, C. J., Lei, D., Aldughayman, M., Huang, L.-f. and Hawkins, J. A. ORCID: (2021) Desert hyacinths: an obscure solution to a global problem? Plants People Planet, 3 (4). pp. 302-307. ISSN 2572-2611

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/ppp3.10215


‘Desert hyacinths’ (Cistanche) are a remarkable genus of parasitic plants, some of which are traded widely for herbal medicine, or have historical local importance as food. Despite their importance, little or nothing is known about the biology of most species and their taxonomy remains confused, hindering identification. A growing body of research into the cultivation of pharmacologically well-characterised Cistanche taxa has enabled regional supply of traditional herbal medicine at low-level cost and intervention. In the context of a global desertification crisis, there is significant potential to expand cultivation of Cistanche beyond China, as an ancillary crop alongside vegetation planted to halt land degradation. However to realise this potential, and to monitor trade to control any possible unsustainable harvesting of threatened wild populations, robust taxonomy informed by both morphological and molecular data is needed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:98447


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