Great Basin Naturalist


Seeds of two halophytes, Atriplex triangularis, which grows in a mesic saline marsh environment, and Atriplex confertifolia, which grows in a xeric desert environment, were analyzed by energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis for the distribution of elements. The highest concentration of sodium, chlorine, potassium, and calcium was present in seed coats of A. triangularis. All of the elements detected were at low concentrations in the endosperm. Embryos contained the highest amount of phosphorus that is probably associated with organophosphate compounds. Potassium was also high in embryos. The total amount of elements in all regions of A. confertifolia was low as compared to A. triangularis. In a similar pattern sodium, chlorine, potassium, and calcium were the highest in seed coats of A. confertifolia. Elemental concentration was also low in the endosperm. Likewise, the phosphorus level was the highest in the embryo. The results support the concept of elemental compartmentalization in seeds of these halophytes.