There is practically no data on the lower plants. Additional research is required.

To date, the flora of the higher plants of the reserve is represented by 432 species from 241 genera and 69 families.

The vast majorities (99%) are angiosperms, of which 19.4% (83 species) are monocotyledons, and 79.6% (340 species) are dicotyledons.

The 15 leading families contain 74.9% of the total floral diversity of the region. The recruitment and participation of the first five families fully reflect the common features of the taxonomic composition of the flora characteristic of the sandy deserts of Kazakhstan and the southern regions of wetlands, in particular, the Alakol – Sasykkol lake system.

The leading families in the flora of the reserve

The range of basic life forms


Of the 9 tree species, the most significant role in the vegetation is played by loch (Elaeagnus oxycarpa), two species of saxaul (Haloxylon aphyllum, H. persicum), and turanga (Populus diversifolia, P. pruinosa), as well as one species of willow (Salix songorica).

Of the shrubs, the most common are buzzards (on sandy massifs), in particular Calligonum aphyllum, C.leucocladium and C.rubicundum, combworms (Tamarix ramosissima, T. laxa, T. hispida), saltpeter (Nitraria schoberi, N. sibirica), chingil (Halimodendron halodendron).

Semi–woody shrubby and semi-shrubby plants play an essential role in the vegetation cover: Ephedra lomatolepis, Krasninnikowia ceratoides, as well as wormwood from the subgenus Seriphidium (Artemisia schrenkiana, A. serotina, A. songorica, A. agepagii, etc.).

More than 80% of the reserve’s plant species have various beneficial properties. The group of forage plants is the most representative — it includes at least 50% of the total floral diversity. In desert ecosystems, these are primarily granary cereals (Agropyron fragile), species of grasshopper and mortuk, as well as wormwood (white–earth, salt marsh, sandy, autumn) and almost all representatives of the Haze family (ebelek, camphorosma, camel, climacoptera, etc.). Teresken (Krascheninnikovia ceratoides) and izen (Kochia prostrata) are distinguished by their high feed value. In meadow areas and in the tugai, the most important forage crops are the dominant cereals — multi-stemmed volosnets, creeping wheatgrass, filthless species, ground vine, as well as legumes (sickle-shaped alfalfa, naked holly, mouse peas, licorice, camel thorn). In aquatic ecosystems, the most significant are reeds, narrow-leaved cattails, tubers, lake reeds, duckweed, urut, hornwort and all types of roasts.

The medicinal group ranks second in number among the resource plants of the region (about 40% of the total floral composition). Most of them are used only in folk medicine, 19 species are officially recognized: Hyoscuamus niger, Acorus calamus, Althaea officinalis, Alhagi pseudalhagi, Salix alba, Linaria vulgaris, Anabasis aphylla, Peganum harmala, Melilotus officinalis, Plantago maior, Glycyrrhiza glabra, G.uralensis, Sphaerophysa sasula , Rumex confertus, Helychrisum arenarium, Bidens tripartite, Rosa laxa, R.beggeriana, Taraxacum officinale.

The group of honey-bearing and parchment-bearing plants includes about 20% of the total floral diversity. Tree and shrub species (Elaeagnus oxycarpa, Halimodendron halodendron, species of the genera Caligonum, Salix, Tamarix, Atraphaxis, Rosa) occupy a special place in its composition. Of the various grasses, the role of mass species (Medicago falcata, Glyccyrhiza glabra, G.uralensis, Limonium gmelii, L0tus suffruticosum, L.frondosus, Melilotus albus, M.officinalis, Inula britanica, etc.), as well as early-flowering perganoses, providing fertilization of bees in the “colorless” spring period (Tulipa behmiana, T. buhseana , Eremurus anisopterus and etc.).

Technical plants are represented by more than 10 different specialized groups. Special attention should be paid only to such traditionally raw species as: tannins (Rheum tataricum, Limonium gmelini, L.suffruticosum, L.otolepis, Rumex confertus); essential oils (Ferula ferulaeoides, Acorus calamus, Mentha arvensis, almost all Artemisia species, in particular, highly productive A.terrae-albae, A.schrenkiana, A.scoparia, A.annua, A.nitrosa); dyeing (Anabasis aphylla, Atriplex litoralis, Xanthium strumarium, Lycopus exaltatus, Lythrum salicaria, Pseudosophora alopecuroides, Euporbia jaxartica); paper pulp (Phragmites australis, Scirpus lacustris, Achnatherum splendes, Calamogrostis epigeios, C. pseudophragmites).

Ecologically significant species include those that stabilize the state of the environment, in particular, soil and sand strengthening: saxauls, turangs, all kinds of buzzards and tamaricks, ephedra, etc. Thickets of some of them serve as a refuge for wild animals and birds, as well as nesting sites, for example, reeds, groves and trees of turangi, lokha, shrubby thickets of chingila, zhuzguns and tamarix. Others, especially aquatic and coastal ones, can serve as biological filters, purifying water from industrial and household pollutants, etc. The same type of ecologically valuable species includes a group of ornamental plants that are decorations of landscapes, giving a person aesthetic pleasure from communicating with nature. The proportion of such species is at least 20-25% of the total floral diversity of the reserve.

32 species of wild relatives of cultivated plants have been identified on the territory of the reserve (their share is about 12.5% of all species registered within the Central Asian Genetic Center). This is a valuable gene pool that has been used and is promising for future use in order to update old and develop new cultivated varieties. According to the direction of use, these types are divided into groups:

  • wild relatives of forage plants – 15 species (Agrostis gigantea, Agropyron fragile, Phalaroides arundinacea, Elytrigia repens, Leymus multicaulis, Poa bulbosa, P. angustifolia, Kochia prostrata, Medicago falcata, M. lupulina, M. sativa, Trifolium fragiferum, Melilotus albus, M.dentatus, M. officinalis);
  • wild relatives of food plants – 13 species (Secale sylvestris, Echinochloa crusgalli, Vicia cracca, Lactuca orientalis, Eleagnus oxycarpa, Berberis iliensis, Hippophae rhamnoides, Rubus caesius, Daucus carota, Lathyrus pratensis, L.tuberosus, Setaria viridis, Digitaria sanguinalis);
  • wild relatives of technical plants, in particular tanning and spinning plants – 4 species (Rheum tataricum, Rumex confertus, Cannabis ruderalis, Linum pallescens).


Rare, relict and endemic plant species

There are 32 species of various categories of rarity on the territory of the reserve, which is about 7.5% of the total number of flora of higher plants. The leading plants in the rare group are those listed in the Red Book of Kazakhstan:

  • Kazakh reed
  • Blue-leaved poplar (blue-leaved turanga)
  • Bolotnotsvetnik shield-leaved
  • Aldrovanda is bubbly
  • The nut-bearing lotus
  • Barberry of Ili
  • Ili honeysuckle

Of the other rare species in need of special protection and of scientific interest, 7 relict species and 18 endemic species of Kazakhstan have been noted on the territory of the reserve.



The territory of the reserve covers a small section of the modern delta of the Ili River and part of the recently extinct Bakanas ancient delta, as well as a narrow strip of the Balkhash accumulative-abrasive plain. It is a slightly inclined surface composed of alluvial, lacustrine deposits. These deposits of Quaternary (anthropogenic) and modern age serve as the soil-forming rocks of the soils common here.

The composition of the sediments is quite diverse, from sandy to loams and clays, and is usually characterized by layering. A significant area in this territory is occupied by Aeolian deposits, which are basically older than alluvial ones and form ridge-bumpy and bumpy forms, usually oriented from southeast to northwest.

The entire territory of the reserve is located in a zone of real deserts, but typical representatives of zonal gray-brown soils are absent here. Among automorphic soils, only takyr-like soils and takyrs, as well as part of sandy massifs, stand out. The rest of the soil cover consists of soils of a hydromorphic and partly semi-hydromorphic regime, i.e. soils, the formation of which is associated with additional moisture due to soil and surface moisture. This range of soils ranges from meadow and meadow-desert to meadow and swamp soils.

In general, desert sandy soils, takyrs and takyrs belonging to automorphic soils have become the most widespread on the territory of the reserve. Part of the sandy massifs, bumpy and shallow-hummocky, confined to the modern delta, are meadow-desert (churt sands), formed under conditions of periodic flooding. Various types and genera of hydromorphic soils are also widespread.

It should be noted that in the conditions of the modern delta, soil formation processes are extremely dynamic. The formation of soils in the conditions of a hydromorphic regime depends on the dynamics of groundwater and surface waters occurring both in the annual and seasonal cycle.

Reserve soils