Perianth colour dimorphism is related to germination properties and salinity tolerance in Salsola vermiculata in the Arabian deserts

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Nordic Journal of Botany


© 2017 The Authors We investigated the dimorphic perianth colour of Salsola vermiculata and its association with seed germination percentage, interactions with temperature, light, salinity and recovery from prior salinity exposure. Seeds with and without pink and yellow perianth were incubated at three thermal regimes, two photoperiods, and five salinity levels. Germination recovery after salinity exposure was observed on seeds that failed to germinate during the salinity study. The germination percentage and rate were significantly related to the perianth colour, the presence of perianth wings, thermal regimes and photoperiod. The presence of a perianth wing significantly reduced germination percentage and germination rate in both the pink and the yellow morph, but the yellow morph exhibited a higher germination percentage. Perianth wing removal increased germination in saline conditions. With the perianth removed, germination recovery was higher for the pink morph than for the yellow one. We suggest that by providing two different strategies for balancing germination with dormancy during favourable conditions, the presence of two morphs makes S. vermiculata more successful in highly unpredictable desert environments.

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