In the article the results of long-term studies of useful plants of Aktobe region were presented, which is particularly interesting in terms of the botanical and geographical location. This region is located at the boundary between Europe and Asia. Seven groups of useful plants were identified: forage, medicinal, food, meadow, technical, ornamental, poisonous. According to the results of research, 876 species, which possess certain properties used by humans, have been identified in the region. It constitutes 59.4 % of the total number of flora species in Aktobe region. It was revealed that the largest number of species are presented in the following groups: medicinal plants — 593 species (40.2 %), forage plants — 428 species (29 %), ornamental — 253 species (17.2 %) of the region's flora. The smallest group are poisonous plants — 114 species. Many species have complex utility value. The most common species are in Aktobe region, such as: Agropyron cristatum, Bromopsis inermis, Eremopyrum orientale, Festuca valesiaca, Phleum phleoides, Poa pratensis, etc. Agropyron cristatum and Secale sylvestre may be of interest for breeding.
Aktobe region has an interesting geographical position, located at the junction of Europe and Asia, the boundary of which are the southern spurs of the Urals — the small Mugodzhary Mountains. The region is located on the Caspian lowland in the west, the Ustyurt plateau in the south, the Turan lowland in the southeast, and Mugodzhary in the center from north to south. Most of the region is a plain with heights of 100–200 m, dissected by river valleys; in the middle part are the Mugodzhary Mountains. The western part of Aktobe region is occupied by the Ural Plateau; in the southeast, arrays of hilly sands stretch — Big and Small Badgers. The Turgai Plateau enters the northeast of Aktobe region .
The territory of Aktobe region is located in the steppe and desert zones. According to the latest physiographic zoning, it is located within 7 physiographic regions (South Ural, Priuralsk-Turgai, North Caspian, Turgai Central Kazakhstan, South Caspian, Aral-Syrdarya and Mangyshlak-Ustyurt-Krasnovodsk) .
Aktobe region is of a particular interest in the botanical and geographical relation as one of the most significant industrial areas of Kazakhstan. Unique steppe communities, Cretaceous massifs, relict forest and marsh tracts in need of protection of flora have been preserved in the region . Strengthening the anthropogenic factor on the environment of the region requires the intensification of work on the preservation of biodiversity and the creation of a system of monitoring the plant world, in particular, inventory and preservation of populations of useful plants of the flora.
Materials and research methods
The work was carried out on the basis of more than 30-years-old materials collected by the route method, the analysis of herbarium collections in Kazakhstan, as well as the generalization of literature data of the region. There are valuable species as part of any flora. These species have economic use and are promising for use in natural conditions and when introduced into culture.
The allocation of groups of useful plants was carried out by us according to their economic significance on the basis of works devoted to these issues [4–11].
Research results and discussion
Based on the available information on the beneficial properties of the flora species of the region, we identified several groups: forage, herbs, food, meadow, technical, ornamental, poisonous.
As a result of the analysis, 876 species with the properties used by humans have been identified, which is 59.4 % of the total number of species of the region's flora .
The largest numbers of species are such groups as: medicinal plants — 593 species (40.2 %). Forage plants are represented by 428 species or 29 % of the total number of species of the region's flora. The group of ornamental plants consists of 253 species of the flora of the region, or 17.2 % of the total number of species. The group of industrial plants includes 208 species (14.1 %).
The group of meadow plants is 238 species, food plants — 141 species, poisonous plants — 114 species. Many species have a complex utility value. Below there is a characteristic of plants by categories of utility.
Forage plants. All forage grasses are divided into 4 economic and botanical groups: cereals, legumes, sedge and forbs.
The largest number of forage plants in the flora of Aktobe region is contained in the Poaceae family — 90 species or 21 % of the total number of species, forage plants and the Fabaceae family — 76 species or 17 %.
In Aktobe region the most abundant species are Agropyron cristatum, Bromopsis inermis, Eremopyrum orientale, Festuca valesiaca, Phleum phleoides, Poa pratensis, etc. Agropyron cristatum and Secale sylvestre may be of interest for breeding.
High-grade fodder plants of the Poaceae family are Alopecurus pratensis, Festuca pratensis, Elytrigia repens, etc. The sedge group includes plants from the family Cyperaceae and Juncaceae (Carex diandra, Carex riparia, Carex vulpina and Juncus compressus).
The most valuable source of the protein component of forage plants is the species of the Fabaceae family. In the flowering phase, they contain about 18.4 % of protein, and up to 31.3 % in seeds . In quantitative terms, the following genera dominate in this family: Astragalus (29 species), Trifolium (8 species), Lathyrus (8 species), Medicago (6 species).
Trifolium pratense, Trifolium repens, Trifolium hybridum, Medicago falcata, Lathyrus pratensis, Meli- lotus albus, Melilotus dentatus, Melilotus officinalis are the most valuable feeds.
In the northwest area (Kargaly region) there are large populations of Melilotus officinalis, which, in our opinion, are of particular interest for the breeding of forage plants. Also, the genus Medicago is of particular interest.
The rational use of natural resources is primarily based on the identification and regulation of stocks of economically beneficial plants. Despite the species diversity of resources, their base in the region remains poorly understood and requires further resource uses.
Herbs. In the flora of Aktobe region, 593 herbs are registered, 114 of which are used in official medicine [13, 14].
The largest number of herbs grows in forest pegs and floodplain forests: Betula pendula, Alnus glutinosa, Comarum palustre, Agrimonia asiatica, Crataegus korolkowii, Fragaria vesca, Fragaria viridis, Rosa canina, Althaea officinalis, Athyrium filix-femina, Tussilago farfara and Dryopteris filixmas.
Somewhat fewer species are found in meadows and marshes: Inula helenium, Hypericum perforatum, Oxycoccus palustris, Sanguisorba officinalis, Cynoglossum officinale, Plantago maxima, Bidens tripartita, etc.
Herb characteristic of steppe formations includes Pulsatilla patens, Dianthus versicolor, Euphorbia sub- cordata, Carduus crispus, etc. Among medicinal plants there are many weedy species: Capsella bursa-pas- toris, Xanthium strumarium, Taraxacum officinal, Urtica dioica, Berteroa incana.
Therapeutic herbs can be used for the prevention and treatment of a number of diseases. Helichrysum arenarium, Tanacetum vulgare, Artemisia absinthium, Achillea millefolium can be used for raw materials. Besides, the territory of Aktobe region is perspective for resource management studies.
Food plants. Food plants occupy one of the first places among other foods, being an important source of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins.
The greatest value among the species in this group are fruit and berry, vegetable and spicy aromatic wild species. Fruit and berry include: Rubus saxatilis, Rubus caesius, Padus avium, Rosa canina, Rosa laxa, Rosamajalis, Fragaria vesca, Fragaria viridis, Viburnum opulus, Crataegus korolkowii, Prunus spinosa, Ibrahmus, and Idrasus, Ibrahmus, Ibrahmus sanguinea, Crataegus korolkowii, Prunus virosis, Viburnum opulus, Crataegus sanguinea, Crataegus korolkowii Padus avium, Rubus idaeus, Rosa acicularis.
A number of herbaceous plants are used as vegetable species: Allium angulosum, Allium caesium, Urtica dioica, Taraxacum officinal, Cichorium intybus, Sanguisorba officinalis, Rumex acetosa, Rumex confertus, Rumex pseudonatronatus, Stemera confertus, Steumera confertus, Rumex crispus, Rumex pertudonatronatus and Steamer confluentus.
The aromatic plants include Mentha piperita, Carum carvi, Daucus carota, Thymus marschallianus, Fil- ipendula ulmaria, Humulus, etc. Only a small fraction of plants of this group is used by locals.
Meadow plants. This group is represented by 238 flora plants, most of which belong to the family Rosaceae and Fabaceae: Cerasus fruticosa, Comarum palustre, Cotoneaster melanocarpus, Padus avium, Chamaecytisus ruthenicus, Melilotus albus, Melilotus dentatus, Melampyrum cristatum, Salix hastata.
In the broad sense, honey plants include plants that produce not only nectar, but also pollen or perga for bees. Usually honey plants are divided into three groups in terms of flowering: spring; summer; late summer and autumn.
Spring honey plants: species of Betula, Ulmus, Salix, Taraxacum, Viburnum, Populus, Padus, Amygdalus and other genera.
Running honey plants: Chamerion angustifolium, Echium vulgare, Filipendula ulmaria, Medicago fal- cata, Melilotus albus, Melilotus officinalis, Rubus idaeus, Vicia cracca, Vicia tenuifolia, Trifolium hybridum, Trifolium medium, Trifolium pratense, Trifolium repens, Rosa majalis.
Late summer and autumn honey plants: Achillea millefolium, Berteroa incana, Origanum vulgare, Bidens tripartita, Odontites vulgaris.
Technical plants. This is a group of plants, parts of which are used as raw materials for various industries.
In our flora, they include 208 plant species (14.1 %). They can be divided into the following subgroups: dyeing, essential oil, spinning, tanning and others.
Dyeing art is one of the oldest art. As soon as a person learned to make fabrics, make leather, make yarn, roll felt, and weave carpets, it became necessary to dye them. The ability to dye fabrics and make leather depended on the development of civilization, which was determined by historical time and natural conditions .
Dyeing plants of our flora include: Betula pendula, Betula pubescens, Atraphaxis frutescens, Rumex con- fertus, Chelidonium majus, Isatis tinctoria, Genista tinctoria, Impatiens nolitangere.
Tanning plants. By this name, plants are understood to contain special, so-called tannins in the cells, which are used in the manufacture of leather and give it a whole range of valuable technical properties, such as softness, strength, impermeability, color, etc.
In terms of their chemical composition, tannins, which are organic compounds, differ from each other in their possession of the following common features: they all dissolve in water, have astringent, tart taste, are precipitated by the action of glue, alcohol and oxidize to red or brown in air. Rheum tataricum, Limonium gmelinii, Geranium pratense, Elaeagnus angustifolia belong to tanning plants.
Essential oil plants are represented by such species as Mentha longifolia, Nepeta cataria, Origanum vul- gare, Chelidonium majus, Prunella vulgaris, etc.
Spinning plants are presented: Linum uralense, Linum corymbulosum, Linum perenne, Trachomitum lancifolium. Other subgroups are represented by: Humulus lupulus, Dipsacus gmelinii, Anabasis aphylla, Salix caprea, Salix alba, etc.
Poisonous plants. Poisonous plants include: Hyoscyamus niger, Datura stramonium, Ephedra distachya, Aconitum anthora, Conium maculatum, Hypericum perforatum, Equisetum arvense, Frangula alnus, Ranunculus flammula, etc.
Poisonous plants are used as insecticides and ratids. Of the plant species growing in the region, these include Cynoglossum officinale, Lepidium perfoliatum, Chelidonium majus, etc.
Ornamental plants. The flora of the region contains in its composition a large number of species of interest for cultivation. This group is represented in our flora by 253 plant species (17.2 %). Only a small part of wild plants is used by local people in garden plots and front gardens. These include Ulmus grabra, Betula pendula, Hesperis sibirica, Rosa majalis, etc.
For flowering plants that are promising for use in culture are Anemone sylvestris, Dianthus borbasii, Calystegia sepium, Pulsatilla patens, Filipendula ulmaria, Gladiolus imbricatus, Ixiolirion tataricum, etc.
The rational use of natural resources is primarily based on the identification and regulation of stocks of economically beneficial plants. Despite the species diversity of resources, their base in Aktobe region requires further resource studies.
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