Atriplex rosea L. (Chenopodiaceae; tumbling orach), an annual herb, is a widely established weedy species of disturbed sites in all counties of Utah. Seeds of Atriplex rosea were collected from a salt marsh in Faust, Utah, and are dimorphic, light brown, and 2–2.5 mm wide, or black and 1–2 mm wide. Seed germination responses of the black and brown seeds were studied over a range of salinity and temperature. Both brown and black seeds germinated at 1000 mM NaCl, and the optimal temperature for germination of both types was 20–30 °C. Variation in temperature, however, affected germination of black seeds more than brown seeds. At lower thermoperiod only 40%–50% black seeds germinated in nonsaline control, and germination was almost completely inhibited with the inclusion of salinity. However, all brown seeds germinated in control at temperatures above 5–15 °C, and inhibition caused by salinity was comparatively lower. Brown seeds had a higher germination rate than black seeds at all temperature and salinity treatments. The highest rate of germination of both seeds occurred at the temperature regime of 5–15 °C. Recovery of germination for black seeds when transferred to distilled water after being in various salinity treatments for 20 days was quite variable. Recovery decreased with increase in salinity at lower temperature regimes, increased with salinity at optimal thermoperiod, and had no effect at 20–30 °C. Brown seeds recovered poorly from salinity at all thermoperiods except 5–15 °C, where recovery decreased with an increase in salinity. Brown seeds are adapted to germination in the early part of the growing season, whereas black seeds are capable of surviving harsher conditions and can germinate in later time periods. Characteristics of the dimorphic seeds increase chances for survival in the harsh saline desert environment.
Khan, M. Ajmal; Gul, Bilquees; and Weber, Darrell J.
"Temperature and high salinity effects in germinating dimorphic seeds of Atriplex rosea,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 64
, Article 6.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol64/iss2/6