Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is cultivated in the Kingdom of Saudi since pre-historic times and is the most important fruit crop of the Kingdom. High soil salinity is a major abiotic stress that is impacting on the productivity of date palm in the Arabian Peninsula. Trials conducted at the National Date Palm Research Centre, Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia to determine the effect of NaCl induced salinity on photosynthesis and chlorophyll in the three date palm cultivars viz. Khalas, Madjool and Barhy revealed that increasing soil salinity levels (0, 50, 100, 200 and 400 mM NaCl) resulted in progressive decrease of K+, K+/Na+ ratio and N content, along with increase in Na+ levels in all the three tested cultivars. Increasing salinity levels also decreased the net photosynthesis and chlorophyll levels in these cultivars. However, Saudi Arabia’s premier date cultivar ‘Khalas’ was able to withstand increasing salinity levels as compared to Majdol and Barhi.
Key words: Salinity, Phoenix dactylifera L., photosynthesis, chlorophyll content.
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