- September 1, 2016
This study was conducted in order to determine the role of the two seed morphs, observed for the first time in a desert population of the widespread Atriplex canescens (Amaranthaceae), in regard to their germination requirements, salinity tolerance and recovery after salt exposure during the seed germination stage. Seeds of the two produced colours (brown and black) were germinated in laboratory conditions under two photoperiods (12/12-h light and continuous dark), three alternating temperature regimes (15/25, 20/30 and 25/35 °C), and several salt concentrations (0, 100, 200, 400, 600, 800 mM NaCl), in order to check the salinity tolerance of each chromatic category and its recovery. Mean seed mass of brown seeds was significantly higher than that of black ones. Brown seeds did not show dormancy on the contrary of black seeds. For both colours, light and temperature did not affect seed germination. Very few seeds germinated when they were exposed to salinity, even at the lowest NaCl concentration; however, all seeds were able to recover their germinability once they were transferred to distilled water. Our results may indicate that both the coloured seed categories could remain viable in saline conditions and they will able to germinate once the salinity level decreases due to rains. Seed colour variation could be a survival strategy of A. canescens in the unpredictable desert environment where this species may grow, although the causes of the occurrence of this phenomenon in this species only for this observed desert population need to be further deepen. © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.