L., commonly known as hornbeam, has significant economic and ornamental importance and is largely distributed in the northern hemisphere, including parts of China and Korea, with high adaptation to harsh conditions in very unfertile soils. In this study, the ecophysiological responses of C. turczaninowii
seedlings to various salinity stress treatments (NaCl: 0, 17, 34, 51, 68, and 85 mM) were studied for 42 days by determining stress-induced changes in growth parameters and biochemical markers. Salinity stress affected the values of all the examined parameters, both morphological and physiological, and caused the inhibition of plant growth, the degradation of photosynthetic capacity and stomatal behavior, a decrease in the photosynthetic pigments contents and relative water content, an increase in the Malondialdehyde (MDA) content and relative electrolytic conductivity, and the accumulation of Na+
content. The presence of relatively high concentrations of organic osmolytes, the activation of antioxidant enzymes, and the ionic transport capacity from the root to shoots may represent a constitutive mechanism of defence against stress in C. turczaninowii
seedlings. Our results suggest that C. turczaninowii
can tolerate salinity at low and moderate concentrations (17–51 mM) under nursery conditions and can be widely used in roadsides, gardens, parks, and other urban areas.
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