Revegetation of Pb/Zn Mine Tailings: Germination and Seedling Establishment of Plants

Z. Q. Zhang, C. Y. Lan, M. H. Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


The seed germination of twelve plant species and seedling growth of two woody species (Acacia confusa and Leucaena glauca) in Pb/Zn mine tailings were compared with those of plants growing in soil. All species were able to germinate in Pb/Zn mine tailings, but the rates of germination were reduced. The rates of respiration and water absorption, and hypocotyl lengths of germinated seeds treated with tailings extracts were all retarded. 50% of L. glauca and 84% of A. confusa grown in soil were nodulated, and no nodulation was observed on either species when grown in tailings.

The concentrations of Zn, Pb and Cd were significantly higher, and the three essential macronutrients (N, P and K) were significantly lower in different parts of seedlings of the two woody species growing in tailings, when compared with those growing in soil. Their seedling growth in tailings was significantly slower than their counterparts growing in soil, with their leaf biomass reduced with growth. This resulted in failure of seedling establishment in tailings. Metal toxicity and nutrient deficiency were the critical factors for seedling growth and establishment in tailings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-279
Number of pages11
JournalLand Contamination and Reclamation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996

User-Defined Keywords

  • seed germination
  • seedling growth
  • Acacia confusa
  • Leucaena glauca
  • lead
  • zinc
  • mine tailings


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