Salt and Water Stress Tolerance in Ipomoea purpurea and Ipomoea tricolor, Two Ornamentals with Invasive PotentialDiana-Maria Mircea, Riwen Li, Lorena Blasco Giménez, Oscar Vicente, Adriana F. Sestras, Radu E. Sestras, Mónica Boscaiu, Ricardo Mir
- Agronomy and Crop Science
Invasive plants pose a significant threat to biodiversity, especially under the current unstable climatic conditions. This study aimed to test the salt and drought tolerance of two ornamental species of the genus Ipomoea during germination and vegetative growth. Germination tests were performed in the presence of increasing NaCl concentrations or iso-osmotic PEG concentrations—to mimic the osmotic stress caused by drought. Both species showed great invasive potential because of their high seed germination percentages and rapid germination under control (distilled water) and salt stress conditions, up to 200 mM NaCl. Germination and early seedling development were more affected in the presence of PEG. Subsequently, water stress (complete withholding of irrigation) and salt stress (watering with 100 mM and 200 mM NaCl) treatments were applied to young plants for three weeks, when all plants were harvested, to determine several morphological and biochemical parameters. Both species were sensitive to water deficit but relatively resistant to salt stress. Their salt stress responses were similar, based mainly on the inhibition of Na+ and the activation of K+ transport from roots to leaves and the uptake and accumulation of Ca2+; however, I. tricolor showed a slightly higher tolerance to salt stress than I. purpurea. Although I. tricolor has only been locally reported as invasive and is generally considered a ‘low-risk’ species, our results indicate that it may have an invasive potential even higher than I. purpurea, a recognised invasive weed, spread into areas with moderate salinity, affecting agricultural land or natural habitats of ecological interest.