Journal Article

Germination of Dimorphic Seeds of the Desert Annual Halophyte <i>Suaeda aralocaspica</i> (Chenopodiaceae), a C<sub>4</sub> Plant without Kranz Anatomy

Lei Wang, Zhenying Huang, Carol C. Baskin, Jerry M. Baskin and Ming Dong

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 102, issue 5, pages 757-769
Published in print November 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Germination of Dimorphic Seeds of the Desert Annual Halophyte Suaeda aralocaspica (Chenopodiaceae), a C4 Plant without Kranz Anatomy

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

Suaeda aralocaspica is a C4 summer annual halophyte without Kranz anatomy that is restricted to the deserts of central Asia. It produces two distinct types of seeds that differ in colour, shape and size. The primary aims of the present study were to compare the dormancy and germination characteristics of dimorphic seeds of S. aralocaspica and to develop a conceptual model of their dynamics.


Temperatures simulating those in the natural habitat of S. aralocaspica were used to test for primary dormancy and germination behaviour of fresh brown and black seeds. The effects of cold stratification, gibberellic acid, seed coat scarification, seed coat removal and dry storage on dormancy breaking were tested in black seeds. Germination percentage and recovery responses of brown seeds, non-treated black seeds and 8-week cold-stratified black seeds to salt stress were tested.

Key Results

Brown seeds were non-dormant, whereas black seeds had non-deep Type 2 physiological dormancy (PD). Germination percentage and rate of germination of brown seeds and of variously pretreated black seeds were significantly higher than those of non-pretreated black seeds. Exposure of seeds to various salinities had significant effects on germination, germination recovery and induction into secondary dormancy. A conceptual model is presented that ties these results together and puts them into an ecological context.


The two seed morphs of S. aralocaspica exhibit distinct differences in dormancy and germination characteristics. Suaeda aralocaspica is the first cold desert halophyte for which non-deep Type 2 PD has been documented.

Keywords: Borszczowia; cold desert halophyte; physiological seed dormancy; seed germination; Suaeda

Journal Article.  8272 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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