- January 28, 2014
Salsola rubescens Franch. is a wind-pollinated halophytic shrub that produces fruits with red and yellow winged perianths. Germinability of seeds from both fruit types was determined under various light, temperature, and salinity treatments. Red seeds, with and without winged perianths, were heavier than yellow seeds. Germination percentage and germination rate index (speed) were significantly affected by the perianth colour, presence of wings, and temperature and light of incubation and most of their interactions. Germination percentage was greater for yellow-winged seeds than for red-winged seeds. Wing removal significantly enhanced the germination percentage and germination speed in the two types. The presence of wings enhanced germination at lower temperatures, but wing absence enhanced germination at higher temperatures. Wing removal enhanced germination to a greater degree in yellow than in red seeds. There was no light requirement during germination of red-winged seeds, but yellow-winged seeds germinated significantly more in light than in darkness. Red-winged and dewinged seeds were more tolerant to salinity than yellow seeds. Removal of wings significantly increased salinity tolerance for seeds of both wing colours. It is concluded that the showy perianth colours have an ecological role in wind-pollinated plants in regulating dormancy and germination behaviour in the heterogeneous unpredictable hyperarid deserts.