High salt level of a germination medium may induce a reduction, delay and even complete inhibition of germination due to osmotic effect and/or ion toxicity. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of salinity due to NaCl on germination and early seedling growth of two crops, Pisum sativum var. abyssinicum and Lathyrus sativus. Seeds of these two crops were treated with NaCl induced saline germinating media prepared in Petri dishes. Fifty (50) surface sterilized seeds per Petri dish were sown in five salt treatments (0, 5, 7, 9 and 15 dSm-). Each treatment was replicated four times. Germination percentage, shoot length and root length of both crops decreased with an increase in salinity level. Although both crops are low salt tolerant legumes, P. sativum var. abyssinium was found to be less tolerant than L. sativus. This study could be strengthened by further work under field conditions and also at mature vegetative and reproductive stages of the crops.
Key words: Germination time, water uptake percentage, salt tolerance, seedling biomass.
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