Inter-population variabilities in seed mass and germination of Panicum turgidum and Pennisetum divisum on the desert of Kuwait

  • Arvind BhattEmail author
  • Narayana R. Bhat
  • Afaf Al-Nasser
  • María M. Carón
  • Andrea Santo


Understanding variability in seed germination among populations is essential for planning an effective germplasm collection for restoration and conservation purposes. The knowledge of germination and dormancy patterns among populations of desert grasses is crucial for determining the potential of the species and populations to be used for restoration and conservation as well as forage production. Variability in seed germination of Panicum turgidum Forssk and Pennisetum divisum (Gmel.) Henr. on the desert of Kuwait was evaluated in different populations in May 2017. Experiment of seed germination (25 seeds and 4 replicates) was conducted for each population at night/day temperatures of 15°C/20°C and 20°C/30°C under the following light condition: continuous darkness or 12 h/12 h light/dark. Results showed that seed masses of both species strongly varied according to their seed provenances, and both species produced heavier seeds in population with a higher soil electrical conductivity. Seed germination percentage considerably varied between two species, and the variation in P. turgidum was greater (17%–49%) than that of P. divisum (72%–93%). Germination percentage in P. turgidum was greater at high temperature (20°C/30°C) than at low temperature (15°C/20°C). However, temperature regimes had no effect on germination percentage of P. divisum seeds. Mean germination time of both species exhibited significant inter-population variability. This result is especially relevant to assure the selection of the best population of each species and the regeneration success of the species. Besides this, inter-population variability also provides valuable information for enhancing our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate seed germination and how they might be related to seed provenance.


desert grass seed germination inter-population variability seed provenance seed dormancy 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



This work was supported by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR). We would also like to thank Dr. Ashok Kumar ALVA and Dr. Samuel C ALLEN for the linguistic revision of the manuscript.


  1. AFNOR. 1987. Collection of French Standards, Soil Quality, Methods of Analysis. France: French Standards Association Afnor, 31–147. (in French)Google Scholar
  2. Akhter R, Arshad M. 2006. Arid rangelands in the Cholistan Desert (Pakistan). Sécheresse, 17(1–2): 210–217.Google Scholar
  3. Al-Awadhi J M, Misak R F, Omar S S. 2003. Causes and consequences of desertification in Kuwait: a case study of land degradation. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment, 62(2): 107–115.Google Scholar
  4. Al-Khateeb S A. 2006. Effect of salinity and temperature on germination, growth and ion relations of Panicum turgidum Forssk. Bioresource Technology, 97(2): 292–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Allen S E, Grimshaw H M, Rowland A P. 1986. Chemical analysis. In: Moore P D, Chapman S B. Methods in Plant Ecology. London: Blackwell Scientific Publication, 285–344.Google Scholar
  6. Al-Shamsi N. 2009. Germination ecology of two indigenous range grasses Lasiurus scindicus and Panicum turgidum. MSc Thesis. Al-Ain: UAE University.Google Scholar
  7. Al-Taisan W A. 2010. Comparative effects of drought and salt stress on germination and seedling growth of Pennisetum divisum (Gmel.) Henr. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 7(5): 640–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Annual Statistical Report. 2006. Ministry of Planning. Kuwait: Kuwait Central Statistical Bureau, 518.Google Scholar
  9. Ashraf M. 2006. Tolerance of some potential forage grasses from arid regions of Pakistan to salinity and drought. In: Öztürk M, Waisel Y, Khan M A, et al. Biosaline Agriculture and Salinity Tolerance in Plants. Birkhäuser: Basel, 15–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Baskin C C, Baskin J M. 2014. Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination (2nd ed.). San Diego: Academic Press, 1600.Google Scholar
  11. Batanouny K H. 2002. Biodiversity strategy and rangelands in the Arab world. In: Hamzah R, Alaa El-Din M N, Mohammed S A. National Biodiversity Planning in the Arab World. Bahrain: Arabian Gulf University Publication, 121–142.Google Scholar
  12. Bewley J D, Black M. 1994. Dormancy and the control of germination In: Bewley J D, Black M. Seeds. USA: Springer, 199–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bhatt A. 2013. Propagation of potential native plants for urban landscape in Gulf countries. In: Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum Proceeding. Qatar: Hamad bin Khalifa University Press, EEP 06.Google Scholar
  14. Bhatt A, Pérez-García F. 2016. Seed dormancy of Ochradenus baccatus (Resedaceae), a shrubby species from Arabian Desert regions. Revista de Bbiologia Tropical, 64(3): 965–974.Google Scholar
  15. Bhatt A, Phondani P C, Pompelli M F. 2016. Seed maturation time influences the germination requirements of perennial grasses in desert climate of Arabian Gulf. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 25(8): 1562–1567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Boot R, Raynal D J, Grime J P. 1986. A comparative study of the influence of drought stress on flowering in Urtica dioica and U. urens. Journal of Ecology, 74(2): 485–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Carón M M, De Frenne P, Brunet J, et al. 2014. Latitudinal variation in seeds characteristics of Acer platanoides and A. pseudoplatanus. Plant Ecology, 215(8): 911–925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cochrane A, Yates C J, Hoyle G L, et al. 2015. Will among population variation in seed traits improve the chance of species persistence under climate change? Global Ecology and Biogeography, 24(1): 12–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dürr C, Dickie J B, Yang X Y, et al. 2015. Ranges of critical temperature and water potential values for the germination of species worldwide: contribution to a seed trait database. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 200: 222–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. El-Keblawy A. 2004. Salinity effects on seed germination of the common desert range grass, Panicum turgidum. Seed Science and Technology, 32: 873–878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. El-Keblawy A, Al-Ansari F, Al-Shamsi N. 2011. Effects of temperature and light on salinity tolerance during germination in two desert glycophytic grasses, Lasiurus scindicus and Panicum turgidum. Grass and Forage Science, 66(2): 173–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. El-Keblawy A. 2013. Impacts of dormancy regulating chemicals on innate and salinity-induced dormancy of four forage grasses native to Arabian deserts. Grass and Forage Science, 68(2): 288–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. El-Keblawy A, Gairola S, Bhatt A. 2016. Maternal salinity environment affects salt tolerance during germination in Anabasis setifera: A facultative desert halophyte. Journal of Arid Land, 8(2): 254–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. El-Keblawy A, Gairola S, Bhatt A, et al. 2017. Effects of maternal salinity on salt tolerance during germination of Suaeda aegyptiaca: a facultative halophyte in the Arab Gulf desert. Plant Species Biology, 32(1): 45–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Eriksson G. 2014. Collection of propagation material in the absence of genetic knowledge. In: Bozzano M, Jalonen R, Thomas E, et al. Genetic Considerations in Ecosystem Restoration Using Native Tree Species. State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources (Thematic Study). Rome: FAO and Biodiversity International, Italy, 79–84.Google Scholar
  26. Fageria N K, Gheyi H R, Moreira A. 2011. Nutrient bioavailability in salt affected soils. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 34(7): 945–962.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fernández-Pascual E, Jiménez-Alfaro B, Caujapé-Castells J, et al. 2013. A local dormancy cline is related to the seed maturation environment, population genetic composition, and climate. Annals of Botany, 112(5): 937–945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gutterman Y. 1994. Strategies of seed dispersal and germination in plants inhabiting deserts. Botanical Review, 60(4): 373–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hegazy A, Lovett-Doust J. 2016. Plant Ecology in the Middle East. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jackson M L. 1973. Soil Chemical Analysis. New Delhi, India: Prentice Hall, 521.Google Scholar
  31. Jones K L, Roundy B A, Shaw N L, et al. 2004. Environmental effects on germination of Carex utriculata and Carex nebrascensis relative to riparian restoration. Wetlands, 24(2): 467–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kigel J. 1995. Seed Development and Germination. New York: Marcel Dekker INC., 872.Google Scholar
  33. Li B, Foley M E. 1997. Genetic and molecular control of seed dormancy. Trends in Plant Sciences, 2(10): 384–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Loha A, Tigab M, Fries A. 2009. Genetic variation among and within populations of Cordia africana in seed size and germination responses to constant temperatures. Euphytica, 165: 189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mganga K Z, Musimba N K R, Nyariki D M, et al. 2015. The choice of grass species to combat desertification in semi-arid Kenyan rangelands is greatly influenced by their forage value for livestock. Grass and Forage Science, 70(1): 161–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Omar S A S, Al-Mutawa Y, Zaman S. 2007. Vegetation of Kuwait. Kuwait: Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, 47–89.Google Scholar
  37. Osman A E, Makawi M, Ahmed R. 2008. Potential of the indigenous desert grasses of the Arabian Peninsula for forage production in a water-scarce region. Grass and Forage Science, 63(4): 495–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Peacock J M F, Erguson M E, Alhadrami G A, et al. 2003. Conservation through utilization: a case study of the indigenous forage grasses of the Arabian Peninsula. Journal of Arid Environments, 54(1): 15–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Phondani P C, Bhatt A, Elsarrag E, et al. 2016. Criteria and indicator approach of global sustainability assessment system for sustainable landscaping using native plants in Qatar. Ecological Indicators, 69: 381–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Quesada M, Winsor J A, Stephenson A G. 1996. Effects of pollen selection on progeny vigour in a Cucurbita pepo x C. texana hybrid. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 92(7): 885–890.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. R Core Team. 2016. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. [2018-06-07]. Scholar
  42. Richer R. 2008. Conservation in Qatar. Impacts of increasing industrialization. Centre for International and Regional Studies (CIRS). Qatar: Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, 1–38.Google Scholar
  43. Richer R, Bhatt A, Abdul Majid S, et al. 2016. Native plant landscaping and species selection to promote sustainability and biodiversity in Qatar. Q Science Proceedings: Qatar Green Building Conference, 2016. The Action, 41.Google Scholar
  44. Santo A, Mattana E, Grillo O, et al. 2015. Morpho-colorimetric analysis and seed germination of Brassica insularis Moris (Brassicaceae) populations. Plant Biology, 17(2): 335–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Steyn H M, Van Rooyen N, Van Rooyen M W, et al. 1996. The phenology of Namaqualand ephemeral species-The effect of water stress. Journal of Arid Environments, 33(1): 49–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tremayne M A, Richards A J. 2000. Seed weight and seed number affect subsequent fitness in outcrossing and selfing Primula species. New Phytologist, 148(1): 127–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Walkley A, Black I A. 1934. An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter, and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Science, 37(1): 29–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wright K J, Seavers G P, Peters N C B, et al. 1999. Influence of soil moisture on the competitive ability and seed dormancy of Sinapis arvensis in spring wheat. Weed Research, 39(4): 309–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yaqoob S, Khan R A, Rafay M, et al. 2013. Nutritional evaluation of major range grasses from Cholistan Desert. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 12: 23–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yeşilyurt E B, Erik S, Tavşanoğlu Ç. 2017. Inter-population variability in seed dormancy, seed mass and germination in Helianthemum salicifolium (Cistaceae), a hard-seeded annual herb. Folia Geobotanica, 52(2): 153–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhang J, Maun M A. 1990. Effects of sand burial on seed germination, seedling emergence, survival, and growth of Agropyron psammophilum. Canadian Journal of Botany, 68(2): 304–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arvind Bhatt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Narayana R. Bhat
    • 1
  • Afaf Al-Nasser
    • 1
  • María M. Carón
    • 2
  • Andrea Santo
    • 3
  1. 1.Kuwait Institute for Scientific ResearchSafatKuwait
  2. 2.Laboratory of Botanical Research (LABIBO), Faculty of Natural SciencesNational University of Salta-CONICETSaltaArgentina
  3. 3.Independent ResearcherSelargiusItaly

Personalised recommendations