Information relating to germination and seedling emergence of a plant aids in determining the species potential distribution and also helps in designing appropriate plant management strategies within an agroecosystem. Salsola foetida Del. ex Spreng, a naturally occurring perennial shrub, is traditionally used as a medicinal plant and a promising camel fodder in the hypersaline, semiarid, and arid areas across the globe. A series of laboratory and greenhouse experiments were conducted to determine the effect of various environmental factors such as temperature, light, salinity, osmotic stress, pH, and seed burial depth on seed germination and seedling emergence of S. foetida. A decline in germination was observed with increases in temperature. The maximum germination of 95% was observed at 25/15°C followed by 83% at 30/20°C; however, minimum germination (35%) was observed at 40/30°C. Maximum seed germination (95%) was observed under 24-h darkness while a decrease in germination (72%) was recorded when seeds were kept in 24-h light. Under saline conditions, 67% of seeds germinated at 100 mM sodium chloride (NaCl) and germination decreased to 12% with an increase in salinity to 500 mM NaCl. The optimum pH for seed germination of S. foetida was 7 (97% germination), although 36% and 75% of seeds germinated at the pH levels of 5 and 10, respectively. About 5% of seeds germinated at an osmotic potential of — 0.8 MPa compared with 40% at — 0.2 MPa. However, seeds of S. foetida were found sensitive to increased burial depth. The maximum germination was observed at the soil surface, and emergence inhibited completely from the seeds buried at the 5-cm depth. The high germination ability of S. foetida over a wide range of environmental factors suggests that this species is likely to thrive easily under harsh arid conditions. Therefore, it is used as a potential candidate for the rehabilitation of rangelands and will be helpful in mitigating the adverse effect of climatic changes on humans and livestock in the degraded areas.
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