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Journal of Arid Land  2020, Vol. 12 Issue (1): 144-153    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0017-6
Research article     
Inter-population variabilities in seed mass and germination of Panicum turgidum and Pennisetum divisum in the desert of Kuwait
Arvind BHATT1,*(), Narayana R BHAT1, Afaf AL-NASSER1, María M CARÓN2, Andrea SANTO3
1 Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Safat 24885, Kuwait
2 Laboratory of Botanical Research (LABIBO), Faculty of Natural Sciences, National University of Salta-CONICET, Salta 4400, Argentina
3 Independent Researcher, Selargius 09047, Italy
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Understanding variability in seed germination among populations is essential for planning an effective germplasm collection for restoration and conservation purposes. The knowledge of germination and dormancy patterns among populations of desert grasses is crucial for determining the potential of the species and populations to be used for restoration and conservation as well as forage production. Variability in seed germination of Panicum turgidum Forssk and Pennisetum divisum (Gmel.) Henr. in the desert of Kuwait was evaluated in different populations in May 2017. Experiment of seed germination (25 seeds and 4 replicates) was conducted for each population at night/day temperatures of 15°C/20°C and 20°C/30°C under the following light condition: continuous darkness or 12 h/12 h light/dark. Results showed that seed masses of both species strongly varied according to their seed provenances, and both species produced heavier seeds in population with a higher soil electrical conductivity. Seed germination percentage considerably varied between two species, and the variation in P. turgidum was greater (17%-49%) than that of P. divisum (72%-93%). Germination percentage in P. turgidum was greater at high temperature (20°C/30°C) than at low temperature (15°C/20°C). However, temperature regimes had no effect on germination percentage of P. divisum seeds. Mean germination time of both species exhibited significant inter-population variability. This result is especially relevant to assure the selection of the best population of each species and the regeneration success of the species. Besides this, inter-population variability also provides valuable information for enhancing our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate seed germination and how they might be related to seed provenance.

Key wordsdesert grass      seed germination      inter-population variability      seed provenance      seed dormancy     
Received: 08 October 2018      Published: 10 February 2020
Corresponding Authors: BHATT Arvind     E-mail:
About author: *Corresponding author: Arvind BHATT (E-mail:
Cite this article:

Arvind BHATT, Narayana R BHAT, Afaf AL-NASSER, María M CARÓN, Andrea SANTO. Inter-population variabilities in seed mass and germination of Panicum turgidum and Pennisetum divisum in the desert of Kuwait. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(1): 144-153.

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Population Code GPS coordinates Associated species
Panicum turgidum
KISR (Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research) KISR 29°09'50''N; 47°41'24''E Pure stand
Near Julaia NJ 28°56'10''N; 48°11'21''E Heliotropium bacciferum, Cenchrus ciliaris and Pennisetum divisum
Sulaibia SNB 29°06'43''N; 47°24'51''E Cyperus conglomeratus, Plantago boissieri and Calligonum comosum
Saad Al Abdulla Al Sabah road SAA 29°24'15''N; 47°41'37''E Lasiurus sindicus, Stipagrostis plumosa, Polycarpae arepens and Cyperus conglomeratus
Pennisetum divisum
KISR KISR 29°07'42''N; 47°43'07''E Pure stand
Sulaibia SNB 29°06'44''N; 47°24'52''E Plantago boissieri, Cyperus conglomeratus and Calligonum comosum
Al Liyah-1 AL1 28°53'19''N; 48°14'27''E Deverra triradiata, Panicum turgidum and Halothamnus iraqensis
Al Liyah-2 AL2 28°55'38''N; 48°12'07''E Salsola imbricata, Cyperus conglomeratus and Aeluropus lagopoides
Saad Al Abdulla Al Sabah road SAA 29°24'05''N; 47°38'24''E Cornulaca monacantha, Panicum turgidum and Haloxylon salicornicum
Table 1 Population codes and habitat details of Panicum turgidum and Pennisetum divisum
Fig. 1 Seed masses of P. turgidum (a) and P. divisum (b) in different populations. Bars indicate standard errors.
Fig. 2 Seed masses of P. turgidum and P. divisum along a gradient of soil electrical conductivity
Population pH EC
AP (mg/kg) Ca (mg/kg) Mg (mg/kg) Na (mg/kg) K (mg/kg) Cl (mg/kg) SO4 (mg/kg) OM (%)
Panicum turgidum
KISR 7.7 3.830 360 33.0 141.0 30.6 57.8 35.4 161.3 176.1 0.80
NJ 8.1 2.670 100 2.8 72.1 8.1 42.2 5.5 75.0 148.3 0.29
SNB 8.0 0.640 95 3.0 24.9 2.7 2.0 5.8 5.1 23.6 0.25
SAA 7.6 2.088 110 8.6 81.1 5.7 19.1 15.0 58.5 122.0 0.44
Pennisetum divisum
KISR 7.8 0.965 540 12.8 49.5 3.4 17.1 9.1 24.8 64.4 1.16
SNB 7.8 0.656 160 3.8 25.8 0.4 4.9 5.0 8.1 20.1 0.42
AL1 7.6 2.088 110 8.6 81.1 5.7 19.1 15.0 58.5 122.0 0.44
AL2 7.8 1.230 220 11.2 39.4 4.7 15.4 4.8 28.5 68.7 0.92
SAA 7.4 4.640 115 12.2 144.2 21.5 80.9 21.1 63.3 326.0 0.30
Table 2 Soil characteristics of P. turgidum and P. divisum in different populations
Fig. 3 Germination percentages of P. turgidum (a) and P. divisum (b) in different populations. Bars indicate standard errors.
Treatment Panicum turgidum Pennisetum divisum
df LRT P df LRT P
P 3 120.631 2.2e-16*** 4 86.198 <2e-16***
T 1 45.902 1.243e-11*** 1 4.862 0.738ns
L 1 0.842 0.359ns 1 4.862 0.028*
T×L 1 0.012 0.901ns 1 0.000 0.994ns
P×L 3 2.713 0.438ns 4 4.655 0.325ns
P×T 3 8.873 0.031* 4 9.476 0.049*
P×T×L 3 3.315 0.346ns 4 0.509 0.973ns
Table 3 Effects of population (P), temperature (T) and light (L) and their interactions on seed germinations of P. turgidum and P. divisum
Fig. 4 Germination percentages and mean germination time (MGT) of P. turgidum (a and c) and P. divisum (b and d) in different populations and temperatures. Bars indicate standard errors.
Species Treatment df Scaled deviation P
Panicum turgidum P 3 10.343 0.016*
T 1 2.894 0.122ns
P×T 3 11.173 0.011*
Pennisetum divisum P 4 38.522 8.745e-08***
T 1 0.029 0.865ns
P×T 4 11.082 0.026*
Table 4 Effects of population (P) and temperature (T) and their interaction on mean germination time of P. turgidum and P. divisum
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