Bracteoles affect germination and seedling establishment in a Mediterranean population of Atriplex portulacoides

S. Redondo-Gomez, E. Mateos-Naranjo, C. Wharmby, C. J. Luque, J.M. Castillo, T. Luque, M. F. Mohamed, A. J. Davy, M. E. Figueroa

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The germination and subsequent seedling establishment of Atriplex portulacoides from a population in SW Spain were investigated in response to the presence or absence of attached bracteoles, at a range of NaCl concentrations (0–6%). Increasing salinity reduced both the final germination percentage and the speed of germination. The presence of bracteoles greatly inhibited germination and this effect was more marked with increasing salinity; bracteoles completely inhibited germination at salinities higher than 2%. The effects of salinity were substantially reversible, as cumulative germination after transfer of ungerminated seeds to distilled water was similar in all salinity treatments. This enforced dormancy could serve to prevent germination of floating fruits during dispersal in seawater. However, after transfer to distilled water the germination of seeds with bracteoles was still significantly lower than those without them, as a result of both higher dormancy and lower viability (as revealed by tetrazolium testing). Bracteoles thus also appear to enforce some physical dormancy. Seedlings derived from seeds with bracteoles demonstrated higher survival rates in fresh water than those derived from seeds without bracteoles but at 2% salinity there was no difference, and at higher salinities no seedlings of either type survived.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-96
Number of pages4
JournalAquatic Botany
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007

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