HOHHOT, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Abundant rainfall has brought a good harvest of cistanche, a sand-control plant widely grown on the edge of the Ulan Buh Desert, the eighth-largest in China.
Farmers in Bayannur City, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, are busy harvesting the herb.
Cistanche, dubbed "desert ginseng," is a commonly used herb in Chinese medicine prescriptions for its ability to boost immunity. With the role of biological nitrogen fixation and sand control, the plant has grown well with plenty of sunshine and the large temperature difference between night and day in the desert region.
Farmers in Bayannur have reaped the benefits of a thriving herbal industry, after years of desertification control efforts. Since April, farmers have harvested 1,333 hectares of cistanche with the output value hitting 60 million yuan (about 9.33 million U.S. dollars).
The Ulan Buh Desert covers a total area of 1 million hectares, with nearly one-third of its area in Dengkou County, Bayannur. To date, 186,667 hectares on the edge of the desert have been planted with vegetation, which forms an ecological barrier and makes it possible for farmers to harvest herbs.