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Title

Seed germination, seedling traits, and seed bank of the tree Moringa peregrina (Moringaceae) in a hyper-arid environment

AuthorsGomaa, Nasr H.; Picó, F. Xavier
KeywordsAridity
biomass allocation
desert
Egypt
germination
seed mass
trees
unpredictable environments
Issue DateJun-2011
PublisherBotanical Society of America
CitationAmerican Journal of Botany, 98(6): 1024–1030. 2011
AbstractPremise of the study: Water-limited hot environments are good examples of hyper-aridity. Trees are scarce in these environ- ments but some manage to survive, such as the tree Moringa peregrina. Understanding how trees maintain viable populations in extremely arid environments may provide insight into the adaptive mechanisms by which trees cope with extremely arid weather conditions. This understanding is relevant to the current increasing aridity in several regions of the world. • Methods: Seed germination experiments were conducted to assess variation in seed mass, seed germination, and seedling traits of Moringa peregrina plants and the correlations among these traits. A seed burial experiment was also designed to study the fate of M. peregrina seeds buried at two depths in the soil for two time periods. • Key results: On average, seeds germinated in three days and seedling shoots grew 0.7 cm per day over three weeks. Larger seeds decreased germination time and increased seedling growth rates relative to smaller seeds. Seeds remained quiescent in the soil and germination was very high at both depths and burial times. • Conclusions: The after-ripening time of Moringa peregrina seeds is short and seeds germinate quickly after imbibition. Plants of M. peregrina may increase in hyper-arid environments from seeds with larger mass, shorter germination times, and faster seedling growth rates. The results also illustrate the adjustment in allocation to seed biomass and correlations among seed and seedling traits that allows M. peregrina to be successful in coping with aridity in its environment
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.3732/ajb.1000051
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/51634
DOI10.3732/ajb.1000051
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