Biological Flora of the British Isles: Sarcocornia perennis (Miller) A.J. Scott

Davy A. J.
Bishop G. F.
Mossman H.
Redondo-Gómez S
Castillo J. M.
Castellanos E. M.
Luque T.
Figueroa M. E.

<li>This account reviews information on all aspects of the biology of <em>Sarcocornia perennis</em> that are relevant to understanding its ecological characteristics and behaviour. The main topics are presented within the standard framework of the <em>Biological Flora of the British Isles</em>: distribution, habitat, communities, responses to biotic factors, responses to environment, structure and physiology, phenology, floral and seed characters, herbivores and disease, history, and conservation.</li>
<li><em>Sarcocornia perennis</em> (Miller) A.J. Scott (<em>Salicornia perennis</em> Miller; <em>Salicornia radicans</em> Sm.; <em>Arthrocnemum </em>[<em>Arthrocnemon</em>]<em>perenne</em> (Miller) Moss) of the European and African coasts is now considered also to include <em>Salicornia virginica</em> L., <em>S. ambigua</em> Michx. and <em>S. gaudichaudiana</em> Moq. of the Americas. <em>Sarcocornia perennis</em> is a spreading, jointed-stemmed, halophyte that differs from the closely related <em>Salicornia</em> in being a shrubby perennial and in aspects of inflorescence structure. In Britain, it is found mainly on the coasts of south-east England, on gravelly or sandy foreshores, and well-drained sediments of tidal salt marshes.</li>
<li><em>Sarcocornia perennis</em> occurs relatively low in the tidal frame but only in well-drained situations, as seedling establishment and long-term survival are intolerant of highly reducing surface sediments. It has a role in the early stages of salt-marsh succession, sometimes as the primary colonist on sandy substrates. In southern Europe, its invasion may be facilitated by the raised clonal tussocks of <em>Spartina maritima</em>, a primary colonist; subsequently, <em>S. perennis</em> dominates the tussocks and supports their rapid radial and upward growth by trapping silt. Pollen flow from the high marsh species <em>Sarcocornia fruticosa</em> may allow invasion by hybrids between the two species.</li>
<li>Hybridization between the diploid <em>S. perennis</em> and octaploid <em>S. fruticosa</em> in south-west Spain has been confirmed by analysis of random amplified DNA (RAPDs). This has also clarified the relationship between the two subspecies present there (the widely distributed ssp. <em>perennis</em> and the more upright, rigid Iberian endemic ssp. <em>alpini</em> (Lag.) Castroviejo).</li>
<li><em>Sarcocornia perennis</em> maintains low water potentials and a positive carbon balance under highly saline conditions. Salinity treatment had no effect on the efficiency of Photosystem II (Fv/Fm). Total germination was also unaffected by salinity up to 2%, although above this it was progressively inhibited; the reduction in germination at seawater concentrations was mainly osmotically enforced dormancy, which would promote dispersal by tides and currents.</li>

Year of Publication
Journal of Ecology
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Biological Flora of the British Isles