Intraspecific Variation in Leaflet Anatomy and Morphological and Physiological Characteristics of Acacia senegal (L.) Willd. Seedlings

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Khalil, A.A. M.
Siam, A.M.J.
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Faculty of Agriculture, University of Khartoum, Shambat, Sudan
Differences in leaflet anatomy and seedling morphometric and physiological characteristics were assessed in 3-month-old seedlings of Acacia senegal from four different geoclimatic zones (viz.: El-fashir and Hawata from Sudan, Windou-tiengloy from Senegal and Dha-bi-ji from Pakistan). Based on the annual rainfall at the site of origin, the seed sources were classified into xeric (El-fashir and Dha-bi-ji) and mesic (Hawata and Windou-tiengloy). Seedlings were grown in large polythene tubes under natural nursery conditions. Xeric provenances had significantly (P<0.05) higher stomatal density than the mesic. Dha-bi-ji displayed significantly thicker leaf than El-fashir and Windou-tiengloy; however, no significant difference in guard cells length among the provenances was detected. Dha-bi-ji had significantly (P<0.05) shorter shoot and lower number of leaflets/pinna than the other provenances and smaller number of pinnae/leaf than that of Windou-tiengloy and El-fashir. Dha-bi-ji showed the highest values for net photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate, while Hawata displayed the lowest values of these traits. No significant difference was obtained in water use efficiency and stem water potential among the studied provenances. In most of the anatomical and morphological traits, Dha-bi-ji exhibited more xeromorphic traits than the other provenances. The functional implications of the diversity of genotypes within Hashab populations are discussed in the framework of selection of seed sources for dry land afforestation.
Page(s):11 (3), 400-413,11 Ref.