The Songnen Plain in northeastern China has been experiencing severe problems with both salinity and alkalinity. Investigation on seed germination and seedling growth of typical halophytes in Songnen Plain under different saline-alkaline stresses is critical for evaluating the potential of a halophyte for restoration. The interactive effects of salt (NaCl and Na2SO4) and alkali (NaHCO3 and Na2CO3) stresses on seed germination, germination recovery and seedling growth of a halophyte Suaeda glauca (Bunge) Bunge were studied. The results showed that seed germination were not significantly different between control and 100 mM salinity at all pH levels ranging from pH 6.8 to 9.8. However, high pH in combination with salinity sharply reduced germination percentage and germination rate. However, the ungerminated seeds germinated well when the high saline-alkaline stresses were removed. Root length decreased significantly with the increasing salinity or pH, but the seedling biomass showed no significant difference at low salinity (≤100 mM) at all pH levels. These results suggested that S. glauca could be used as pioneer plants for ecological recovery of saline and sodic soils.
Key words: Salinity, alkalinity, germination, recovery, seedling growth.
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