Edible Plants for a Russian Tortoise

Written by jenny e
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Edible Plants for a Russian Tortoise
The Russian tortoise is a hardy species. (tortise image by pearlguy from Fotolia.com)

The Russian tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii) is a small species of tortoise that are generally kept as pets. The popularity of the Russian tortoise can be related to its small size, between 8 to 10 inches for females and 6 to 8 inches for males. They are also sociable with humans and easily adapt to life in captivity. The females of the species grow bigger than the males. Also, the Russian tortoise are a long-lived species that can easily live up to 75 years. The diet of the Russian tortoise is quite simple and is able to eat certain plants.

Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)

The artichoke is a plant that is edible to the Russian tortoise and easily assimilates into their diet. The artichoke is a perennial with origins in Southern Europe. It has long, spiny leaves on branched stems that can grow up to three feet tall. The edible portion of the artichoke is the immature flower bud that will form flowers from an unharvested plant. The flowers of the artichoke look like thistle and have a colour that ranges from violet to white. Artichokes grow from seeds or propagate through root cuttings and other vegetative means like division.

Edible Plants for a Russian Tortoise
The artichoke is edible to the Russian tortoise. (artichoke flower image by thomas owen from Fotolia.com)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow is an edible plant for the Russian tortoise. It is a plant that does very well in sunny and warm climates and can often be found growing in the wild. The colour of yarrow flowers are white, pale purple or pink and the petals are form in feathery clusters. You can grow yarrow from seeds, cuttings and root division. Yarrow does well even in poor soil; however, the soil requires the proper drainage because it is susceptible to disease in humid areas.

Edible Plants for a Russian Tortoise
The petals are packed together in feathery clusters. (Yarrow, Achillea millefolium (alternative names Common Yarrow, G image by Tamara Kulikova from Fotolia.com)

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)

Wild carrot is another type of plant that is edible to the Russian tortoise. Wild carrots have flowers with colours ranging from white to light purple, reddish purple and light pink. They blooms between midsummer to early fall. The flowers produce one oval shaped ribbed seed each, which have spiky hair along its rib. These seeds start out with a light reddish purple colour until they become a greyish brown colour upon maturity. These seeds detach from the flowering stalks with time so that they can propagate by the wind. This plant requires full sunlight to thrive, but care must be taken when cultivating wild carrots because they can quickly become invasive due to their deep taproot that are especially difficult to remove.

Edible Plants for a Russian Tortoise
Wil carrots are also edible to the Russian tortoise. (wild carrot white flowers in canopy inflorescence image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com)

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