The species of genus Haloxylon are shrubs or small trees 1–8 metres (3.3–26.2 ft) (rarely up to 12 metres (39 ft)) tall, with a thick trunk and many branches. The branches of the current year are green, from erect to pendant. The leaves are reduced to small scales. The inflorescences are short shoots borne on the stems of the previous year. The flowers are very small, as long or shorter than the bracteoles, bisexual or male. The two stigmas are very short. In fruit, the perianth segments develop spreading wings. The fruit with wings is about 8 millimetres (0.31 in) in diameter. The seed is about 1.5 mm (0.06 in) in diameter.
- Haloxylon ammodendron (C.A.Mey.) Bunge ex Fenzl. (Synonym: Haloxylon aphyllum) – black saxaul
- Haloxylon persicum Bunge ex Boiss. – white saxaul
Phylogenetic research revealed that several species formerly included in Haloxylon are not related to this genus. They are now classified to genus Hammada, with exception of the former Haloxylon stocksii (syn. Haloxylon recurvum), which has been moved to Salsola stocksii.
The common name saxaul, sometimes sacsaoul or saksaul, comes from the Russian саксаул (saksaul), which is from Kazakh сексеуiл (seksewil).
In the former bed of the Aral Sea, saxaul trees are being planted to stop the wind picking up contaminated sand from the dried up sea bed and spreading them through the atmosphere. The plan is to cover the entire former bed with a forest.
- Hedge, I. C. (1997). "Haloxylon". In Rechinger, Karl Heinz; et al. (eds.). Flora Iranica Bd. 172, Chenopodiaceae. Graz: Akad. Druck. pp. 315–326. ISBN 3-201-00728-5.
- Akhani, Hossein; Edward, Gerald; Roalson, Eric H. (2007). "Diversification of the Old World Salsoleae S.L. (Chenopodiaceae): Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis of Nuclear and Chloroplast Data Sets and a Revised Classification". International Journal of Plant Sciences. 168 (6): 931–956. doi:10.1086/518263.
- Maclean, Gordon Lindsay (1996). "Avian adaptations to deserts of the Northern and Southern hemispheres: a comparison" (PDF). Curtin University of Technology School of Environmental Biology Bulletin (17).
- Qobil, Rustam. "Restoring life to the Aral Sea's dead zone". BBC. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- Pyankov, Vladimir I.; Black, Clanton C., Jr.; Artyusheva, Elena G.; Voznesenskaya, Elena V.; Ku, Maurice S.B.; Edwards, Gerald E. (1999). "Features of Photosynthesis in Haloxylon species of Chenopodiaceae that are Dominant Plants in Central Asian Deserts". Plant and Cell Physiology. 40 (2): 125–134. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.pcp.a029519.
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- Data related to Haloxylon at Wikispecies