Submitted to: Arid Soil Research And Rehabilitation
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/12/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Fourwing saltbush is a valuable native forage shrub of arid western rangelands. It produces seed within capsule that protects the seed and aids in dispersal by wind. Seed capsules are colonized by common fungi that form beneficial associations with the seedling root at germination. They then decompose the seed capsule and transfer essential nutrients to the germinating seedling. We believe they also access essential nutrients and water from soil resources which enhances seedling vigor, establishment, and these fungi survival.
Technical Abstract: Fourwing saltbush, Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt., produces copious quantities of small seed, with minimal nutrient reserves, protected in a hard porous capsule (utricle) that aids in dispersal. At germination, saprophytic fungi simultaneously colonize the utricle, testa, and root cortex cells of the emerging radicles. Seedlings vigor was determined by measuring hypocotyl and radicle lengths after germination on minimal carbo or cellulose supplemented medium. Comparisons were made between seedlings from utricle excised and intact seed. Comparisons were also made between surface sterilized and non-sterile excised seed. Minimal growth responses were observed in germinating seedlings from excised seeds on minimal carbon medium. Fungi, utricles, and cellulose supplementation positively affected seedling vigor. The results support a hypothesis that septate fungi recycle utricles and access organic carbon for seedling establishment.