Alfalfa is the major fodder crop of Sultanate Oman, but salinity is a major problem in its cultivation. Therefore, thirty-four alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) landraces of Oman were evaluated for morphology and forage yield response to different salinity levels viz. 1 (control), 3, 6, 9, and 12 dS m−1 under greenhouse conditions. The experiment was conducted under a completely randomized design. Different alfalfa landraces responded differently to the five salinity levels for plant height, number of branches, number of leaves, leaflet width, leaflet length, forage fresh weight, and forage dry matter yield. Salt stress caused a reduction in growth and dry matter yield of alfalfa landraces with exception of some, which responded positively to the salinity levels of 3 and 6 dS m−1 compared to control for the number of leaves per plant. Moreover, some landraces had better forage fresh weight and dry matter yield at 6 dS m−1 than 3 dS m−1. Alfalfa landraces OMA 257, OMA, 245, OMA 270, OMA 315, OMA 211, OMA 117, OMA 56, OMA 239, OMA 148, OMA 131, OMA 95, OMA 263, OMA 262, OMA 289 and OMA 220 were designated as salt tolerant based on their overall performance across salinity levels of 6, 9 and 12 dS m−1. However, the landraces OMA 305, OMA 100, OMA 211, OMA 148, OMA 60, OMA 248, OMA 9, OMA 88, and OMA 302 collected were sensitive to 6, 9 and 12 dS m−1 salinity stress. The study showed the variation of alfalfa landraces potential for salinity tolerance, and their potential for cultivation in saline areas and/or use in breeding programs aimed to develop salt tolerant alfalfa genotypes.
- Forage yield