Dimorphic fruit colour is associated with differences in germination of Calligonum comosum.

Calligonum comosum L'Hér is a perennial evergreen shrub that produces dimorphic fruits of distinctly yellow or red colour. The species is found on sand dunes of the Middle East, is valued as a highly palatable livestock feed that survives extreme drought, and is suitable for desert restoration of non-saline sandy soils. The association of fruit colour with germination was assessed in laboratory conditions under two temperature (15/20 and 20/30 °C) and two light (0 and 12 h per day) treatments. Additionally, the association of fruit colour with emergence and seedling growth up to 90 days from sowing was assessed in shade house conditions. Germination percentage in the laboratory was the only variable that exhibited significant variation by seed colour. Germination was highest for red seeds grown in the dark at the higher temperature but the influence of seed colour on germination was not repeated in the shade house study. The dimorphic fruit colour of C. comosum is thus associated with differing germination rates, but further study is needed to determine whether morphs employ differing recruitment strategies.

Published in: Botany Vol. 97; no. 4; pp. 263 - 269
Main Authors: Bhatt, Arvind, Bhat, N.R., Carón, María Mercedes, Gallacher, David
Format: Article
Published: Canadian Science Publishing 2019
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Online Access: View this record in EBSCOhost
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Summary: Calligonum comosum L'Hér is a perennial evergreen shrub that produces dimorphic fruits of distinctly yellow or red colour. The species is found on sand dunes of the Middle East, is valued as a highly palatable livestock feed that survives extreme drought, and is suitable for desert restoration of non-saline sandy soils. The association of fruit colour with germination was assessed in laboratory conditions under two temperature (15/20 and 20/30 °C) and two light (0 and 12 h per day) treatments. Additionally, the association of fruit colour with emergence and seedling growth up to 90 days from sowing was assessed in shade house conditions. Germination percentage in the laboratory was the only variable that exhibited significant variation by seed colour. Germination was highest for red seeds grown in the dark at the higher temperature but the influence of seed colour on germination was not repeated in the shade house study. The dimorphic fruit colour of C. comosum is thus associated with differing germination rates, but further study is needed to determine whether morphs employ differing recruitment strategies.