Rhazya stricta is an evergreen dwarf shrub of the Apocianaceae family, which contains around 1,300 herbs, shrubs and trees, many of which have important medicinal and economical value (1)(2). Growing in deserts and arid valleys, the appearance of Rhazya stricta depends upon its habitat. The shrub is stunted and yellowish-green where the soil is formed of coarse materials and rainfall is low, but is bigger and dark green where the soil is fine and water is in abundance (3). The leaves are highly variable in shape, but are often narrowly oval. The flowers are arranged into a flattened cluster and are borne on short stalks, with the round petals being bluish-green on the outside of the flower and white on the inside. The cylindrical, long fruit pods encase narrowly-winged, flattened, brown seeds (4).
A little-studied species, very little is known about the biology of Rhazya stricta. However, it is known to often grow in pure, dense stands, where it is typically the dominant species in the floral community (3). A perennial species, it tends to expand horizontally rather than vertically whilst growing (2).
Although the threats to Rhazya stricta have not yet been fully assessed, it is known to be harvested due to its medical properties and it is used to treat fevers, allergies and stomach problems (4). It is also protected from heavy livestock grazing by its poisonous properties, and the overgrazing of other shrubs actually increases the rate at which Rhazya stricta spreads (1).
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