Forage halophytes in the Mediterranean basin.
It was shown that out of 700 Mediterranean halophyte species, 27.5% were from the Chenopodiaceae, 15% from the Poaceae, 6% from the Asteraceae and 5% from the Caryophyllaceae, Fabaceae and Zygophyllaceae; 70% were perennial and 30% annual or biennial. The most common tree species was Tamarix, the most common shrubs Salicornia, Salsola, Suaeda and Atriplex, the most common perennials Aeluropus, Sporobolus, Puccinellia and the most common annual species Hordeum maritimum, Lepturus cylindricus, Frankenia and Melilotus. The halophytic vegetation was described and aspects of the palatability (ratio of feed intake:fodder on offer) and preference; primary productivity (aboveground biomass of Atriplex halimus was 10-15 t DM/ha and annual productivity 2-5 t DM/ha); grazing and nutritive value (digestible DM 40-70%, digestible OM 50% and CP content 10-12%); and cultivation (Atriplex nummularia, A. semibaccata and Myoporum insulare grown in Australia and A. canescens and A. lentiformis in the USA) were discussed. Many salt tolerant fodder species used in land reclamation with or without irrigation using saline water (Festuca arundinacea, Sporobolus, Trifolium fragiferum, Lotus corniculatus, Lolium rigidum, Hordeum vulgare, Melilotus alba, M. italica and Medicago spp.) gave DM yields of 5-20 and 2-10 t/ha, respectively.