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Eco-physiological studies on desert plants: germination of Halothamnus iraqensis Botsch. seeds under different conditions

Abstract

With the aim to investigate if the halophyte Halothamnus iraqensis Botsch. can be suitable for re-vegetation and remediation of salt-affected lands, this study evaluated (1) the effects of photoperiod, thermoperiod, storage period and wings' presence on its seed germination, and (2) the ability of its seeds to have successful germination recovery after salt stress. Germination tests in different photoperiods (12 h light/12 h darkness and total darkness) and thermoperiods (15°C/20°C and 20°C/25°C) were conducted for seeds collected in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The seeds collected in 2016 were sown under different salinity levels (0, 100, 200, 400 and 600 mM NaCl) to assess the salinity tolerance during the germination. Wings' presence highly inhibited seed germination of this species in both photoperiods and thermoperiods under all salinity level treatments. In addition, the germination recovery occurred well when seeds were deprived of their wings. The photoperiod of 12 h light/12 h darkness and the thermoperiod of 15°C/20°C were the best conditions for seed germination. Germination percentages of H. iraqensis seeds decreased with the increasing storage duration, especially after three years of the collection. In addition, H. iraqensis seeds were able to germinate under different salinity levels, and their germination percentages decreased with increasing salinity levels. H. iraqensis seeds have the ability to recover their germination after alleviating the salt stress, irrespective of photoperiod, highlighting the halophilous character of this species.

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded by Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. The authors are very grateful to Dr. John A MALTON, Dr. Samuel C ALLEN and Prof. Yougasphree NAIDOO for the linguistic revision of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Arvind Bhatt.

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Bhatt, A., Bhat, N.R., Murru, V. et al. Eco-physiological studies on desert plants: germination of Halothamnus iraqensis Botsch. seeds under different conditions. J. Arid Land 11, 75–85 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-019-0121-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-019-0121-7

Keywords

  • wings’ presence
  • storage period
  • photoperiod
  • thermoperiod
  • salt stress
  • Halothamnus iraqensis Botsch