Effects of saline-alkaline stress on early growth strategy and colonization success of Flaveria bidentis ( L.) Kuntze (Asteraceae ) - a new exotic plant in Northern China
Flaveria bidentis, an annual grass native to South America, has invaded into many countries all over the world, including South Africa and Egypt in Africa, Britain and France in Europe, Japan in Asia, and Australia. In China, this plant species has been widely distributed in Hebei province since 2001 of its first discovery in Tianjin. In salinized soil of northern China, F. bidentis has formed mono dominant communities owing to its opportunistic characteristics. In this study, we investigated germination rate, germination energy, germination index and vigor index in response to different saline-alkaline stresses. Lengths of seedling, hypocotyl, and radicle were also examined. During germination process, germination rate, germination energy, germination index, and vigor index decreased due to higher salinity and alkalinity (pH). Hypocotyl elongation was stimulated at low salinity and alkalinity, but decreased with increasing salinity and alkalinity. The lengths of radicle and seedling were inhibited sharply with increasing salinity and alkalinity. These results suggest that a reciprocal enhancement between salt stress and alkaline stress was a characteristic feature during seed germination of F. bidentis. Ungerminated seeds resumed to germinate after transferred to distilled water, indicating that seeds remained viable during their exposure to saline-alkaline stresses. Stepwise regression analysis indicated that the effects of salinity, alkalinity (pH), and buffer capacity on seed germination and seedling growth were significantly different in magnitude. Salinity and alkalinity (pH) were the dominant factors in seed germination and seedling growth of F. bidentis respectively. burther, the results of this study suggest that F. bidentis has developed excellent adaptative strategy in its early stage of life cycle which partially explains its current invasion success in northern China.
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