Morphological and Physiological Responses of Ten Ornamental Taxa to Saline Water Irrigation Academic Article uri icon


  • Because of limited supply of high-quality water, alternative water sources have been used for irrigation in water-scarce regions. However, alternative waters usually contain high salt levels, which can cause salt damage on salt-sensitive plants. A greenhouse study was conducted to evaluate the relative salt tolerance of 10 common ornamental taxa to saline water irrigation. The 10 taxa studied were Chaenomeles speciosa Orange Storm and Pink Storm (Chaenomeles Double Take); Diervilla rivularis G2X885411, G2X88544 (Diervilla Kodiak, Black, Orange, and Red, respectively), and Smndrsf; Forsythia intermedia Mindor (Forsythia Show Off); Hibiscus syriacus ILVOPS (Hibiscus Purple Satin); Hydrangea macrophylla Smhmtau and Smnhmsigma (Hydrangea Lets Dance Blue Jangles and Rave, respectively); and Parthenocissus quinquefolia Troki (Parthenociss quinquefolia Red Wall). Plants were irrigated with a nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.2 dSm1 (control) or saline solutions at EC of 5.0 or 10.0 dSm1 (EC 5 or EC 10) eight times on a weekly basis. The results indicated that the 10 ornamental taxa had different morphological and physiological responses to salinity. The C. speciosa and D. rivularis plants in EC 5 had severe salt foliar damage, whereas those in EC 10 were dead. Hibiscus syriacus ILVOPS performed well in EC 5 treatment with a shoot dry weight (DW) reduction of 26%, but those in EC 10 had severe foliar salt damage. Hydrangea macrophylla, F. intermedia Mindor and P. quinquefolia Troki were the most salt tolerant with minor foliar salt damage. The two H. macrophylla cultivars had the highest shoot sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl) concentrations with a visual quality of 3 (scale 0 to 5 with 0 for dead plants and 5 for excellent performance), indicating that H. macrophylla plants adapted to elevated salinity by tolerating high Na and Cl concentrations in leaf tissue. Forsythia intermedia Mindor and P. quinquefolia Troki had relatively low leaf Na and Cl concentration, indicating that both taxa are capable of excluding Na and Cl. Chaenomeles speciosa and D. rivularis were sensitive to salinity with great growth reduction, severe foliar salt damage, and high Na and Cl accumulation in leaf tissue.

published proceedings

  • HortScience

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, Q., Sun, Y., Niu, G., Altland, J., Chen, L., & Jiang, L.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Qiang||Sun, Youping||Niu, Genhua||Altland, James||Chen, Lifei||Jiang, Lijuan

publication date

  • December 2017