The germination and subsequent seedling establishment of Limonium emarginatum, an endangered and endemic halophyte of the Strait of Gibraltar, was studied under exposure to different NaCl concentrations (0, 2, 4, and 6%) in a laboratory experiment. We assessed final germination percentage, number of days to first and final germination, mean time to germinate (MTG), as well as seed viability and seedling survival. Increasing salinity delayed the beginning and ending of germination and reduced final germination percentage, inhibiting germination completely above 2% salinity. L. emarginatum exhibited the greatest germination in fresh water. When seeds were removed from all saline solutions, between 60% and 70% of final germination was recorded, although at hypersalinity, germination viability diminished. Salinity pretreatments had a stimulatory effect on germination since germination speed was higher for the recovery experiment than for the seed germination experiment. Transition between germination and seedling establishment was a critical phase, given that less than 50% of seedlings of L. emarginatum survived in distilled water and 5% survived at 2% salinity.
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Vol. 24 • No. sp1