Plant Ecology

, Volume 219, Issue 6, pp 633–647 | Cite as

Salt and waterlogging stress impacts on seed germination and early seedling growth of selected endemic plant species from Western Australia

  • Anne Cochrane


Six perennial species endemic to South West Western Australia (Acacia trulliformis, Austrostipa geoffreyi, Banksia oligantha, B. mucronulata, Hakea tuberculata and Orthrosanthus muelleri) were screened for salt tolerance and recovery during seed germination. Growth and survival of 6-month old seedlings of these six plus a further vegetatively propagated species (Myoporum turbinatum) were subsequently examined in response to salt and waterlogging application. Water uptake under elevated saline conditions (200 and 400 mM NaCl) was slow, but not restrictive to germination. Moreover, a large proportion of seeds that were unable to germinate under saline conditions recovered after being transferred to non-saline conditions. Germination, growth and survival varied with species and the salt concentration used. Increasing salt concentrations tended to increase time to germination. Germination of Acacia trulliformis seeds declined exponentially with increasing salinity, and seedlings suffered reduced growth under saline and non-saline waterlogging. Austrostipa geoffreyi seeds were sensitive to saline treatments but seedlings were highly tolerant of both saline and/or waterlogged conditions. Germination of the three proteaceous species declined significantly under highly saline conditions (400 mM NaCl) with seedlings of the two Banksia species not surviving any treatment with the exception of non-saline waterlogging. Seedlings of H. tuberculata were more resilient to treatment conditions. Orthrosanthus muelleri was sensitive to salt stress during germination but was highly resistant to waterlogging, both saline and non-saline. This study provides an insight into the response and resilience of components of the vegetation understorey of saline-affected regions of Western Australia not usually evaluated allowing for more informed restoration.


Germination Salinity Waterlogging Seedling growth 



The author wishes to thank Ms. Susanne Schreck and Mr. Brian Taylor for technical assistant and help with design of glasshouse pot trials and Dr. Matthew Williams, biometrician, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, for statistical analysis. This study was supported by an Australian Government National Heritage Trust Grant (Project#023191).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Science and ConservationBentleyAustralia

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