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The Tarim Poplar Forest Natural Reserve is situated in Xinjiang, China, approved by State Council as the national natural reserve in 2006. The purpose of Tarim Popla Natural Reserve is to protect the living fossil of tertiary period — poplar, which has a long history of some 5 million years.
The location of the protected areas is located in the 53 million hectares Tarim Basin, which is the worlds largest inland basin. The reserve is bisected by the Tarim River, the world longest inland river with a length of 2 179 km it is north of the 34 million hectares Taklimakan Desert - the world second largest desert.
There are more than 60 species of trees in the Poplar forests. The main associated plant vegetation is red willow and narrow-leaved oleaster. Poplar and other plants can constitute 4 main forest types: young growth Poplar forest in the River refuge, reed-red willow- Poplar forest, red willow- Poplar forest, and grass-wild hemp-Lingdangci (desert plant)- Poplar forest.
Huyang, is a species of Tertiary Period tree, which are today called living fossils. It can live and not fall for 1000 years, and after it dies and falls, not rot for 1000 years. Huyang is the only tall tree that lives in the desert. Huyangs rely on seeds, lateral roots, and regenerated broken branches to repopulate the species.
The Huyang tree is famous for its endurance of drought conditions, salt tolerance, resistance to blowing sand and extreme cold and survival after floods. It can resist high temperatures of 41.5 degrees, cold of-39.8 degrees, and live in harsh natural environments with rainfall between 100-289 mm and evaporation rates of 1500-3700 mm.
The height of an adult Huyang tree is 10 - 20 meters, with the highest reaching 28 meters. The tree-crown can reach 20 meters. Since the growth rings of its branches gradually thicken, some branches can grow up to half meter in circumference, although the young branch resembles a toothpick. Its bark is cracked and has a gray color.
The appearance is obvious during the four seasons of the year. The bud whip is green in spring and the leaves are green also in summer, but the leaves turn golden in autumn, and then, when winter is approaching, become dark yellow. The leaves of the Huyang are diversiform, meaning they have 2 or 3 shapes. Huyang also secrete a kind of resin, named Huyang Tears, which has multiple uses after drying.