Economic halophytes — a global review

  • James Aronson


Not less than about 400 million ha and perhaps as much as 950 million ha of land in arid and semi-arid regions may be salt-affected from natural and anthropogenic causes (Massoud 1974, Ponnamperuma 1977). Definitive data on the annual worldwide loss of farmland due to salinization and related causes is lacking. However salinity is unquestionably the most important problem of irrigated agriculture (Dregne 1977), and one-fifth of the irrigated lands of the world, approximately 47 million ha, is salt-affected today (Maas & Hoffman 1977).


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahmad, R. and Z. Abdullah 1981. Biomass production of food and fibre crops using highly saline water under desert conditions. In Biosaline research, A. San Pietro (ed.): 149–164. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aronson, J.A. 1982. Preliminary report on halophyte and desert plant collections in northwest India, March-April, 1982 (unpublished manuscript).Google Scholar
  3. Aronson, J. in prep. A global master list of halophytes with emphasis on economic uses past, present and future.Google Scholar
  4. Aronson, J.A. and M. Forti 1983. The development of new crops for arid and semi-arid lands. Genetika, Supplementum III: 265–277.Google Scholar
  5. Boyko, H. (ed.) 1966. Salinity and aridity. New approaches to old problems, The Hague: Junk.Google Scholar
  6. Boyko, H. (ed.) 1968. Saline irrigation for agriculture and forestry. The Hague: Junk.Google Scholar
  7. Chapman, V.J. 1975a. The salinity problem in general, its importance and distribution with special reference to natural halophytes. In Plants in saline environments, A. Poljakoff-Mayber and J. Gale (eds): 7–24. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chapman, V.J. 1975b. Terrestrial halophytes as potential food plants. In Seed-bearing halophytes as food plants, G.F. Somers (ed.): 75–90. Newark: University of Delaware.Google Scholar
  9. Chapman, V.J. 1976. Mangrove Vegetation. Vaduz: J. Cramer.Google Scholar
  10. Dregne, H.E. 1977. Desertification in the United States. Nature and Resources XIII: 10–13.Google Scholar
  11. Epstein, E. and J.D. Norlyn 1977. Seawater based crop production: a feasibility study. Science 197: 249–251.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Epstein, E., J.D. Norlyn, D.W. Rush, W. Kingsbury, D.B. Kelley, G.A. Cunningham and A.F. Wrona 1980. Saline culture of crops: a genetic approach. Science 210: 399–404.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Felger, R.S. 1979. Ancient crops for the 21st century. In New agricultural crops, G.A. Ritchie (ed.): 5–20. Boulder, Colorado: Westview.Google Scholar
  14. Felger, R.S. and C.P. McRoy 1975. Seagrasses as potential food plants. In Seedbearing halophytes as food plants, G.F. Somers (ed.): 62–68. Newark: University of Delaware.Google Scholar
  15. Felger, R.S. and J.C. Mota-Urbina 1982. Halophytes: new sources of nutrition. In Biosaline research, A. San Pietro (ed.): 473–477 New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  16. Felger, R.S., M.B, Moser and E.W. Moser 1980. Seagrasses in Seri Indian Culture. In Handbook of seagrass biology, an ecosystem perspective, R.C. Phillips and C.P. McRoy (eds): 260–276. New York: Garland STPM.Google Scholar
  17. Felker, P., G.H. Cannell, P.R. Lark, J.F. Osborn, and P. Nash 1981. Screening Prosopis (mesquite) for biofuel production on semi-arid lands. Final Report to U.S. AID. Kingsville: Texas A & I University.Google Scholar
  18. Franke, W. 1982. Vitamin C in sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum), an edible wild plant. Econ. Bot 36: 163–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gallagher, J.L. 1985. Improving quality and productivity of halophytic crops grown at seawater salinity. In Biosaline research - A step into the future,D. Pasternak and A. San Pietro (eds). The Hague: Junk (in press).Google Scholar
  20. Goodin, J.R. 1979. A triplex as a forage crop for arid lands. In New agricultural crops, G.A. Ritchie (ed.): 133–148. Boulder, Colorado: Westview.Google Scholar
  21. Gupta, R.K. and S.K. Saxena 1968. Resource survey of Salvadora oleoides Decne. and S. per sica Linn. for non-edible oil in western Rajasthan. Trop. Ecol 9: 140–152.Google Scholar
  22. Hubbs Bros, 1981. Muciloid tac, a natural soil binder. Phoenix, Arizona: Hubbs Bros. Seed Co.Google Scholar
  23. Jacobson, T. and R.M. Adams 1958. Salt and silt in ancient Mesopotamian agriculture. Science 128: 1251–1258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kelley, D.B., J.D. Norlyn and E. Epstein 1979. Salt-tolerant crops and saline water: resources for arid lands. In Arid land plant resources, J.R. Goodin and D.K. Northington (eds): 326–334. Lubbock: Texas Tech University.Google Scholar
  25. Kimberley Seeds Pty. Ltd. Catalogue 1980. Osborne Park, Australia.Google Scholar
  26. Koller, D., N.H. Tadmore and D. Hillel 1958. Experiments in the propagation of Atriplex halimus L. for desert pasture and soil conservation. Ktavirn 9: 83–106.Google Scholar
  27. Kurian, T. and E.R.R. Iyengar 1971. Evaluation of seawater tolerance of crop plants. Ind. J. Agric. Res 5: 145–150.Google Scholar
  28. Le Houérou, H.N. 1984. Salt-tolerant plants of economic value in the Mediterranean basin. Paper presented at a ‘Research for development’ Seminar: Forage and fuel production from salt-affected wasteland. Aust. Dev. Assist. Bur. and W. Aust. Dept. Agric. May, 1984. Canberra.Google Scholar
  29. Maas E.V. and G.J. Hoffman 1977. Crop salt tolerance: evaluation of existing data. In Managing saline water for irrigation, H.E. Dregne (ed.): 187–198. Lubbock: Texas Tech University.Google Scholar
  30. Malcolm, C.V. 1969. Use of halophytes for forage production on saline wastelands. J. Aust. Inst. Agric. Sci 35: 32–49.Google Scholar
  31. Martinez, M. 1983. Contribution à l’histoire de la fabrication de la soude vegetal à partir des ‘salicors’. In Les zones palustres et le littoral mediterranéen de Marseilles aux Pyrénées, 143–153. Montpellier: Fédération historique du Languedoc Mediterranéen et du Roussillon.Google Scholar
  32. Massoud, F.I. 1974. Salinity and alkalinity as soil degradation hazards, FAO/UNEP Expert Consultation on Soil Degradation. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  33. Mepham, R.H. 1983a. Mangrove floras of the southern continents. Part 1. The geographical origin of Indo-Pacific mangrove genera and the development and present status of the Australian mangroves. S. Af. J. Bot 2 (1): 1–8.Google Scholar
  34. Mepham, R.H. 1983b. Mangroves. Cape Town: Balkema.Google Scholar
  35. Mercer, D.E. and L.S. Hamilton 1984. Mangrove ecosystems: some economic and natural benefits. Nature and Resources 20, 2: 14–19.Google Scholar
  36. Morton. J.F. 1965. Can the red mangrove provide food, feed and fertilizer? Econ. Bot 19 (2): 113–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mudie, P.J. 1974. The potential economic use of halophytes. In Ecology of halophytes, R.J. Reimold and W.H. Queen (eds): 565–596. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  38. Nelson, E. 1904. Native and introduced saltbushes: three season’s trials. Wyoming Expt. Sta. Bull 63.Google Scholar
  39. O’Leary, J.W. 1979. Yield potential of halophytes and xerophytes. In Arid land plant resources, J.R. Goodin and D.K. Northington (eds): 574–581. Lubbock: Texas Tech University.Google Scholar
  40. O’Leary, J.W. 1984. The role of halophytes in irrigated agriculture. In Salinity tolerance in plants, R.C. Staples and G.A. Toenniessen (eds): 397–414. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  41. O’Leary, J.W., E.P. Glenn and M.C. Watson 1984. Agricultural production of halophytes irrigated with seawater. In Biosaline research — A step into the future,D. Pasternak and A. San Pietro (eds), The Hague: Junk (in press).Google Scholar
  42. Osmond, C.B., O. Bjorkman and D. Anderson 1980. Physiological processes in plant ecology. Towards a synthesis with Atriplex. Ecological Studies, Vol. 36, New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  43. Pasternak, D. 1982. Biosaline research in Israel: alternative solutions to a limited fresh water supply. In Biosaline research, A. San Pietro (ed.): 39–58. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  44. Pasternak, D., Y. Ben-Dov and M. Forti 1977. Recommended list of drought and saline tolerant ornamentals. Beer-Sheva, Israel: Applied Research Institute.Google Scholar
  45. Pasternak, D., A. Danon, J. Aronson and R. Benjamin 1984a. Seawater agriculture in Israel: research, development and prospects. In Biosaline research — A step into the future,D. Pasternak and A, San Pietro (eds). The Hague: Junk (in press).Google Scholar
  46. Pasternak, D., J. Aronson, Y. Ben-Dov, A, Danon, M. Forti, S. Mendlinger and D. Siton 1984b. Development of arid zone crops for the Negev Desert of Israel, (Submitted to J, Arid Environ.).Google Scholar
  47. Pecoff Bros. Nursery & Seed Inc. catalogue 1981. Plants and Seeds for Adverse Environments. Escondido, California.Google Scholar
  48. Ponnamperuma, F.N. 1977. Varietal tolerance for salt in rice. In Plant response to salinity and water stress,Abstracts. Mildura, Australia.Google Scholar
  49. SEPASAT 1983. Draft Dossier: Leptochloa fusca. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens, (mimeo).Google Scholar
  50. Somers, G.F. 1975. Seed-bearing halophytes as food plants, DEL—SG-3–75, College of Marine Studies, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE.Google Scholar
  51. Stutz, H.C. 1982. Breeding superior plants for disturbed lands. Paper presented at Western mined-land rehabilitation research workshop (U.S. Forest service, Fort Collins, Colorado, June 10–11, 1982 ).Google Scholar
  52. Stutz, H.C., J.M. Melby and G.K. Livingston 1975. Evolutionary studies of Atriplex: a relic gigas diploid population of Atriplex canescens. Am. J. Bot 62: 236–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tal, M. 1971. Salt tolerance in the wild relatives of the cultivated tomato: response of Lycopersicon esculentum, L. peruvianum and L. esculentum minor to sodium chloride solution. Aust. J. Agric. Res 22: 631–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Teas, H.J. 1982. Saline silviculture. In Biosaline research, A. San Pietro (ed.): 369–381. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  55. Thornburg, A.A. 1982. Plant materials for use on surface-mined lands in arid and semi-arid regions. Washington D.C.: USDA Soil Conservation Service.Google Scholar
  56. Trumble, H.C. 1932. Preliminary investigations on cultivation of indigenous saltbushes (Atriplex spp.) in an area of winter rainfall and summer drought. J. CSIR 5: 152–161.Google Scholar
  57. Urbina, J.C.M. 1979. Determinacion del rango de tolerancia al ensalitramiento por el pasto salado Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene, en suelos del lago de Taxcoco. Ciencia Forestal 22: 21–44.Google Scholar
  58. White, G.F. 1973. The changing role of water in arid lands. In Coastal deserts, D.K. Amiran and A.W. Wilson (eds): 37–44. Tucson: University of Arizona.Google Scholar
  59. Watt, G. 1889. A dictionary of the economic products of India (2nd edn 1972) Vol. I: 394–399. Delhi: Cosmo.Google Scholar
  60. Workman, R.W. 1980. Growing native: native plants for landscape use in coastal south Florida. Sanibel: Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Inc.Google Scholar
  61. Yensen, N.P., M.R. Fontes, E.P. Glenn and R.S. Felger 1981. New salt tolerant crops for the Sonoran Desert. Desert plants 3: 111–118.Google Scholar
  62. Zahran, M.A., A.A. Wahid and M.A. El-Demerdash 1979. Economic potentialities of Juncus plants. In Arid land plant resources, J.R. Goodin and D.K. Northington (eds): 244–260. Lubbock: Texas Tech University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Aronson
    • 1
  1. 1.Boyko Institute for Agriculture and Applied BiologyBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael

Personalised recommendations