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Study of ontogenesis of Scabiosa ochroleuca L. in the conditions of the Central Kazakhstan

The article presents the results of the Scabiosa ochroleuca ontogenesis study under the conditions of the nature of the Central Kazakhstan. The study of this species is due to the need to use it as a source of biologically active substances and to determine the potential of introduction. 4 periods (latent, virginal, generative and senile) and 7 age states (resting seeds, seedlings, juvenile, immature, adult vegetative, generative and senile) are revealed. Morphological features of each period and state, degree of development of above-ground and underground organs, alternation of vegetation phases are determined. The duration of the ontogenesis cycle of Scabiosa ochroleuca in nature was 2 years, of which in the 1st year the plants took place in 150–176 days with coverage of the conditions of seedlings, juvenile and immature plants. For the 2nd year, the life cycle covered 137–151 days, during which periods of adult vegetative, generative and senile plants pass. Potential of introduction of Scabiosa ochroleuca in Karaganda region is determined.


One way to manage and conserve the natural resources of rare, endangered and endemic plant species is to introduce them into the culture. The introduction of species of natural flora provides extensive material for scientific research, primarily in the field of rhythms of ontogenesis. In ex situ conditions the researcher gets the opportunity to observe the dynamics of the development of individuals in their entirety, fixing the change in age states, which is very difficult when conducting such studies in natural conditions. Ontogenesis study makes it possible to assess plant development in different age phases, to determine vegetation duration, to assess climate effects on development of above-ground and underground organs in process [1, 2].

The genus Scabiosa L. is a genus of herbaceous, or semi-shrub plants of Dipsacacese family [3]. Representatives of the this family are characterized by the presence of wrapper leaves, the cup is reduced to bristles.

There is practical interest for an introduction of Scabiosa ochroleuca L. Currently, the plant is used in folk medicine. Wound healing agents are made from it is used, in diseases such as hemorrhoids, skin rashes, warts, and female diseases [4]. There is potential application of herb of this species as anti-inflammatory, wound healing and antimicrobial agent [5–9].

Based on the above, the aim of the study was to investigate the stages of ontogenesis of Scabiosa ochroleuca in the conditions of the Central Kazakhstan.

Object and methodology

The object of the study was the seed material and Scabiosa plants from the natural populations.

Scabiosa ochroleuca is a biennial, less often perennial, herbaceous plants up to 50–75 cm tall, in culture they can reach a height of up to 130 cm. The rhizome is woolly, branchy, thickened in the neck. The stems are simple or branched at the top, pubescent with curly hairs in the upper and lower parts. Leaves of barren shoots on long petioles, whole, toothed, lyre-notched, lyre-pinnate-dissected. It blooms in July-October. It is frost-resistant, moderately drought-resistant [10].

The initial stages of the study were carried out at the research center of biotechnology and ecomonitoring of the Faculty of Biology and Geography of Karagandy University of the name of academician Ye.A. Buketov in 2019–2021. The remaining phases of ontogenesis were established on natural populations in Korneev forests (Bukhar-Zhyrau district of Karaganda region).

The seed material was divided into batches by size and weight (small, medium and large), measured with a ruler and germinated. Seed material was attracted from natural habitats: 1) Buiratau State National

Natural Park, Karagash tract (Karaganda region); 2) vicinity of Karagaily village (Karkaraly district of Karaganda region); Karkaraly Mountains (Karkaraly District, Karaganda Region).

Periods of ontogenesis and determination of age states were carried out according to the methodological guidelines available in the literature [11–13]. Germination of seeds was determined according to the generally accepted method [14]. Experiments were laid in 4 times repetition, the germination energy was determined on the 6th day, germination — on the 30th day. Morphology of seeds and seedlings was examined on a binocular microscope MBS-1 in laboratory conditions with an increase of 40–80 times. The following parameters were measured: total height of plants, length of the epicotyls, length and width of the first leaf, length of the root system.

Results and discussion

In ontogenesis of Scabiosa ochroleuca is separated into 4 age periods and 7 age state (Table 1):

  1. Latent, represented by resting seeds;
  2. Virgin, or pre-generative, period, in which the conditions of seedlings, juvenile, immature and adult vegetative plants are separated;
  3. Generative period, represented by state of generative plants;
  4. Senile period, represented by state of senile plants.

Latent period. Scabiosa ochroleuca seed with a pale yellow conical shape with a blunt nose and 6–8 clearly visible ribs (Fig. 1), 2.2–3.6 mm length and 1.5–2.1 mm wide; weight of 1000 seeds is 0.15–0.34 grams. On top, the seed is covered with a film coating forming a wavy crown with rigid bristles, the surface along the ribs is lowered by simple white trichomes.

The largest seeds are marked for the Karkaraly Mountains, the smallest — from the Buiratau National Park [15].

This aspect can be explained by the fact that in the Karkaraly Mountains more mesophytic conditions are observed (more precipitation), which leads to a good development of plant morphology. In the Buiratau Mountains, the conditions are more xerophytic, so the size of the seeds is lower.

The germination rate of freshly harvested seeds ranged from 50.1 to 64.5 %, however, during storage, a gradual decrease was observed (Fig. 2). So, after 6 months of storage, there was a decrease in germination by 15 %, after 1 year — by 23 %, after 2 years — by 2.2 times. Total loss of germination is noted for seeds after 4 years of storage (Figure 2).




Duration of period / state



Resting seeds

From 6 months till 3.5 years




30–35 days



35–40 days



85–92 days


Adult vegetative plants

42–46 days



Generative plants

75–80 days



Senile plants

20–25 days

Table 1

Duration of major phases of Scabiosa ochroleuca ontogenesis in the Central Kazakhstan

Virgin period. State of seedlings. Seed germination begins on day 4–5 after planting on Petri dishes. When sowing in open ground, underground conditions, seedlings appear in the 1st — 2nd decades of May. The germ root appears first of the seed, 6–8 mm long and up to 0.5 mm in diameter. After one day, a hypocotyl appears, which makes a knee bend and carries out the cotyledons folded together. Cotyledon leaves open after 1–2 days. The prophet currently has a height of 1.5–1.8 cm, the root length is 2.5–4 cm; cotyledon leaves 1.4–1.8 cm long and up to 0.5–0.6 cm wide, narrowly elliptic in shape with a rounded base and a notched apex. After 14–20 days, the first pair of real leaves appears, obovate in shape, with a serrated edge.

Duration of state is 30–35 days.

Juvenile state. Plants pass into this age state after drying and dying of cotyledon leaves. As a result, a small rosette with 4–6 real leaves is formed (Fig. 3). The plant has a height of 2.5–3 cm, the length of the root system is 5.7 cm. Real leaves are sessile, up to 2.5 cm long and 1.5–1.8 cm wide.

Duration of state is 35–40 days.

Immature state. In immature plants, Scabiosa ochroleuca show the appearance in the rosette of leaves of lyre-cut leaves. The socket reaches a height of up to 4–5 cm, a diameter of 8–12 cm, a root system of the rod type, deepens by 14–18 cm, lateral roots of the 1st order appear. Leaf leaves up to 5–7 cm long and 2.5–3 cm wide, petiole 1.5–2 cm. In this phase, plants go under winter rest.

The duration of the state is 85–92 days.

Adult vegetative plants. Plant growth for the next year of vegetation begins in the 3rd decade of April — early May, depending on weather conditions. Scabiosa plants transition to an adult vegetative state. It is characterized by the formation of a basal rosette of leaves, consisting only of lyre-separate leaves, as well as the formation of a vertical shoot branching in the upper part. Leaves on the stem are lyre-dissected, opposite sessile, with thin linear lobes. The height of plants reaches 30–40 cm, diameter 8–15 cm, the number of real leaves exceeds 8–15. The root system is 23–30 cm deep, rod type; lateral roots of the 2nd order appear.

The duration of the age period is 42–46 days.

Generative period. Generative state. In mid-June, the beginnings of head inflorescences begin to form on the tops of shoots, which marks the transition of the plant to the generative period. Simultaneously with the appearance of generative organs, further growth in heights and the formation of lateral shoots are observed (Fig. 3).

The blossoming phase falls on the 2nd decade of June — the beginning of July, single flowering — at the end of June, mass — 2–3 decades of July. Individuals can bloom until the end of August, which depends on habitat conditions and weather factors. In August, individual inflorescences pass to the fruiting stage, the mass phase of which falls on the end of August — beginning of September. With the beginning of fruiting in individuals, yellowing and wilting of leaves in the basal rosette are observed; plant growth is completely stopped. The height of plants by the end of the period reaches 50–75 cm, the number of inflorescences per 1st individual from 1 to 5 (7) pieces. The length of the root reaches 30–35 cm, the roots of 1–2 orders are marked.

The phase duration is 75–80 days.

Senile perios. Senile plants. After ripening and scattering, the seeds of Scabiosa ochroleuca plant pass into the senile period. There is a browning of above-ground organs, twisting of stem leaves. Vertical shoots with remnants of underdeveloped seeds remain. Dying plants in this form go away in the winter.

The duration of the condition is 20–25 days.

Thus, Scabiosa ochroleuca plants in the Central Kazakhstan undergo a full cycle of ontogenesis in two years, with the duration of ontogenesis phases for the 1st year of vegetation being 150–167 days, for the 2nd year — 137–151 days, which fully corresponds to the duration of the growing period of the Karaganda region.


Based on the results of observations, the main periods and states of ontogenesis of Scabiosa ochroleuca in the conditions of the Central Kazakhstan are determined. There are 4 periods (latent, virginal, generative and senile) and 7 age states (resting seeds, seedlings, juvenile, immature, adult vegetative, generative and senile) that take place in the 2-year period. In the first year of vegetation, the initial phases of ontogenesis take place in 150–167 days, in the 2nd year for a period of 137–151 days. Observation of the phases of ontogenesis shows the prospect of introducing the studied species of plant into the introduction experiment.



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