Biodiversity Science ›› 2007, Vol. 15 ›› Issue (4): 419-424.doi: 10.1360/biodiv.060330

• Editorial • Previous Article     Next Article

Seed polymorphism and fruit-set patterns of Salsola affinis

Hongfei Wang, Yan Wei*   

  1. College of Forestry, Xinjiang Agricultural University, Urumqi 830052
  • Received:2007-01-04 Revised:2007-06-15 Online:2007-07-20

Salsola affinis, a dominant desert annual inhabiting the Junggar Basin of Xinjiang, produces three types of seeds which differ in morphology and ecological properties. To better understand how S. affinis is adapted to its desert habitat, we studied its seed morphs, germination characteristics and fruit-set patterns. Having lignified perianths with long wings, Type A seeds can easily be dispersed to a long distance by wind, whereas type B and type C seeds were tightly attached to the mother plants because of short wings or absence of wings. Seeds were germinated in incubators at three alternating temperature regimes. Both Type A and Type B seeds could germinate rapidly at three alternating temperature regimes, although Type B seeds germinated more quickly. Type C seeds germinated slowly with germination rate less than 10%, indicating that they were dormant. With the increase of the size of the individual parent plant, the ratio of Type A increased from 0.43% to 51.07%, while Type B decreased from 65.8% to 18.06%, but Type C kept steady (30–35%). The success of Salsola affinis in the desert might be partly attributed to its heterocarpy and associated plastic response to heterogeneous environmental conditions.

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