Great Basin Naturalist


Greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus [Hook.] Torr.) (Chenopodiaceae) typically grows on salt-affected soils where its germination requirements may reflect characteristics necessary for establishment in saline environments. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of osmotic potential and specific ions on the germination of seeds from three populations of greasewood. Seeds were germinated at 20 C in solutions of polyethylene glycol with water potentials ranging from –0.3 to –2.2 MPa that contained 0 to 68480 µmol·L–1 sodium chloride (NaCl) or 0 to 53640 µmol·L–1 potassium chloride (KCl). Germination of two populations was reduced by increasing salt concentration and decreasing osmotic potential; germination of one population was reduced by declining osmotic potential. No seeds germinated at an osmotic potential lower than –1.6 MPa. For all populations, days to 50% of final germination increased and abnormal germination decreased as osmotic potential declined. Comparison of our results with those from other studies suggests geographic ecotypic development in response to osmotic potential and NaCl and KCl concentrations during germination.