New data on the occurrence of Bassia prostrata (L.) A.J. Scott., (Amaranthaceae) plant with emphasis on morphology and nrDNA ITS phylogeny from Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

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Doi: 10.1007/s42535-024-00943-y
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Keywords: Bassia prostrata, Morphology, Rare species, Distribution, nrDNA ITS phylogeny, Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan


Bassia prostrata (Forage Kochia) from the genus Bassia (Amaranthaceae) is a species tolerant to salt and drought and is used in breeding to create or improve pastures in arid zones and desert areas. The reported data on natural distribution of this plant species is very limited throughout the world. This study presents new distribution sites of B. prostrata plant with the assessment of morphology and molecular phylogeny based on nrDNA ITS sequence in the Gilgit district of Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Morphology of B. prostrata was assessed under the stereo microscope with different magnifications. For the phylogenetic analysis, nrDNA-ITS region of B. prostrata was newly sequenced and pooled with publically available GenBank ITS sequences of Bassia to generate a multiple sequence alignment (MSA) for maximum likelihood (ML) tree construction. The species has been recovered in two sites where it prefers natural alpine places, predominantly not shaded with elevations of 2216–2251 m a.s.l. B. prostrata plant is a subshrub up to 80 to 100 cm tall with basally branched caudex. The stems are yellowish and many from the base with leaves up to 20 to 25 mm long, densely pubescent and linear to lanceolate. The ITS ML tree displayed B. prostrata (OR484851) from Gilgit district in a clade with corresponding B. prostrata species already reported globally. B. prostrata is naturally distributed in the region and its local occurrence needs to be extensively reported across the Gilgit-Baltistan region. The new distribution locations of B. prostrata reported here should be updated in the Flora of Pakistan and its conservation status needs to be assesed and clarified following the IUCN criteria.

Bassia prostrata, Morphology, Rare species, Distribution, nrDNA ITS phylogeny, Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan

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The author is thankful to the anonymous reviewers for their value able feedback on this manuscript.

Author Information

Hussain Adil
Food and Biotechnology Research Centre, Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), Lahore, Pakistan