Effects of salinity levels and seed mass on germination in Australian species of Frankenia (Frankeniaceae) – Publication

Abstract of a paper based on work funded in part by the Australian Flora Foundation

Lyndlee C. Easton, Sonia Kleindorfer
School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100,
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 5001.
Environmental and Experimental Botany 65 (2009) 345–352

Halophyte species demonstrate differing levels of salt tolerance. Understanding interspecific variation to salinity levels is of value from both the scientific perspective, which includes the identification of traits associated with salinity tolerance, as well as from an applied perspective, which includes identifying plant species for specific salinity restoration and remediation projects. This paper investigates the effects of salinity on germination of 12 Australian species of the plant genus Frankenia L. (Frankeniaceae). We use saline solutions that corresponded to the average soil–water salinity concentrations in the arid zones of inland Australia. These solutions consisted of 10mM calcium chloride, 30mM magnesium sulphate, and 450mM sodium chloride. The aims of our study were: (1) to investigate the germination (germination rates, germination success) of Frankenia seeds to four salinity levels (0%, 10%, 20%, 30%), (2) to test for possible interaction effects between seed mass, germination, and salinity, and (3) to examine the effect of salinity levels on the inhibition of germination and/or seed damage. Species varied in their salt tolerance for germination rates and success. Species with larger seeds had higher germination rates and germination success for high salinity levels. Several species did not germinatewell at any salinity level. Finally, no seeds were adversely affectedby exposure to high salinity levels pre-germination. There is potential for including some Frankenia species in remediation and revegetation projects in areas affected by salinity, and also as garden plants in saline regions.