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Salinity Effects on Germination of Artemisia herba–alba Asso: Important Pastoral Shrub from North African Rangelands

Nedjimi, Bouzid, Zemmiri, Hassina
Rangeland ecology & management 2019 v.72 no.1 pp. 189-194
Artemisia herba-alba, calcium chloride, germination, magnesium chloride, pastoralism, rangelands, saline soils, salinity, seeds, shrubs, sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, soluble salts, toxicity
Artemisia herba–alba Asso (known in Arabic as Shih) is an evergreen aromatic shrub endemic in North African rangelands with high pastoral and medicinal relevance. The present work was designed to determine the effect of four soluble salts (NaCl, Na2SO4, MgCl2, and CaCl2) on germination of A. herba–alba seeds. Four concentrations (0, 50, 10, and 150 mM) of each salt were used to test the influence of salinities on germination percentage (GP), rate of germination (RG), and germination tolerance index (GTI %). The experiment was conducted in a controlled incubator with a 12h–photoperiod under 15°C dark/25°C light. The results showed that both GP and (RG) decreased significantly with salinity, and the highest GP was observed in the distilled water control (~80%). The germination tolerance index (GTI %) revealed that A. herba–alba seeds were more tolerant to CaCl2 than other soluble salts. Comparatively, at high salt concentrations, MgCl2 and Na2SO4 were generally the most toxic salts followed by NaCl and CaCl2. The germination of A. herba–alba over a wide range of soluble salts suggests that this species can establish in salt-degraded soils. Therefore, this species appears a promising candidate for the rehabilitation of rangeland with saline soils.