Our purpose was to evaluate the usefulness of the germination vs. the X-ray test in determining the initial viability of seeds of eight wild species (Salvia spinosa, Salvia aegyptiaca, Ochradenus baccatus, Ochradenus arabicus, Suaeda aegyptiaca, Suaeda vermiculata, Prosopisfarcta and Panicumturgidum) from Saudi Arabia. Several days were required to determine viability of all eight species via germination tests, while immediate results on filled/viable seeds were obtained with the X-ray test. Seeds of all the species, except Sa.aegyptiaca, showed high viability in both the germination (98–70% at 25/15 °C, 93–66% at 35/25 °C) and X-ray (100–75%) test. Furthermore, there was general agreement between the germination (10% at 25/15 °C and 8% at 35/25 °C) and X-ray (5%) tests that seed viability of Sa.aegyptiaca was very low, and X-ray analysis revealed that this was due to poor embryo development. Seeds of P.farcta have physical dormancy, which was broken by scarification in concentrated sulfuric acid (10 min), and they exhibited high viability in both the germination (98% at 25/15 °C and 93% at 35/25 °C) and X-ray (98%) test. Most of the nongerminated seeds of the eight species except those of Sa.aegyptiaca were alive as judged by the tetrazolium test (TZ). Thus, for the eight species examined, the X-ray test was a good and rapid predictor of seed viability.

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Published in Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, v. 24, issue 4, p. 822-829.

© 2016 Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of King Saud University.

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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The authors acknowledge the financial support from King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Saudi Arabia, Riyadh and Mr. K. Alsaawi for technical assistance with the X-ray radiographs.