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Salvadora persica

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? Inhibitors in the fruit pulp will prevent germination if the seeds are not extracted. If the seeds have not been properly dried and stored under optimal conditions, storage life and viability will be reduced.

Salvadora persica fruits (Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)

Seed Storage

This species is likely to have Orthodox seeds. To avoid a decline in viability, remove seeds from ripe fruits soon after harvest and allow to dry slowly, under ambient conditions, before transferring to a cool dry room. Dry to 15 to 20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.

This species has oily seeds which will absorb relatively less water than similarly-sized non-oily seeds. Be aware that when these seeds are dried to the recommended 15% relative humidity, the equilibrium moisture content will be lower than for non-oily seeds.

Germination Requirements

The seeds of this species do not display dormancy. However the fruit pulp contains germination inhibitors so should be removed before sowing.

Germinate on agar, germination paper or sand at 30 or 35ºC.

Seed Morphology

The fruit is small, round berry (0.6-1 cm), containing one seed. The seed (1-4 mm) is brown in colour, subglobose and smooth.

Salvadora persica fruit
(Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)



Accepted name: Salvadora persica L.

Synonyms: none

Common name: toothbrush tree, salt bush, mustard tree

References and Links 

  • Albrecht, J. (1993). Tree Seed Handbook of Kenya. GTZ Forestry Seed Centre Muguga, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Baskin, C.C. and Baskin J.M. (1998). Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. Academic Press, USA.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
  • Janick, J. and Paull, R.E. (eds) (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts. CAB International, UK.
  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Salvadora persica.
  • PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Salvadora persica.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Salvadora persica.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Salvadora persica.