Common lambsquarters, a summer annual weed, has occupied comparatively different ecogeographical regions around the globe. To investigate the extent to which germination and emergence traits have differentiated in two natural populations of common lambsquarters from different environments (Denmark as mesic and Iran as xeric population), experiments were conducted in the laboratory. Germination of both populations was stimulated by light. The greatest germination percentage of xeric and mesic populations occurred at 25/15 and 20/10 C, respectively. The xeric population showed significantly greater germinability at the lowest (15/5 C) and the highest (35/25 C) fluctuating temperature regimes. Germination of the xeric population was only slightly affected, and the mesic population was severely retarded at a salinity level of 20 desi siemens (DS) m−1. Greater than 42% of the xeric seeds germinated at 30 dS m−1 salinity, while the mesic germination almost ceased at this salinity level. Germination of seeds placed in distilled water after the 14-d salinity exposure treatments (recovery rates) was also greater for the xeric vs. mesic populations. Xeric populations showed more than 65% germination up to the osmotic potential of −0.4 MPa, while decreasing osmotic potential from 0 to −0.4 MPa caused an 80% reduction in mesic population germinability (9% germination). The greatest emergence of xeric (77%) and mesic (70%) populations occurred for seeds placed on the soil surface and no seedlings emerged from burial depth 3 cm. These study results suggest that common lambsquarters populations have differentiated for heat, salinity, and drought tolerance at germination stage. These contrasting germination patterns are appeared to be due to either adaptation via natural selection or maternal effects, or some combination of both. Though this study has certain limitations, it, through its findings and their propositions, adds to the existing knowledge about interpopulation differences in germination requirements of common lambsquarters, as a globally distributed species.
Nomenclature: common lambsquarters, Chenopodium album L.