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J Chem Ecol. 2001 Aug;27(8):1585-94.

Seasonal and population variation in flavonoid and alliarinoside content of Alliaria petiolata.

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Boyce Thompson Institute, Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Pieris napi oleracea, an indigenous butterfly in North America, lays eggs on Alliaria petiolata, an invasive weed that was introduced from Europe. However, larval development on plants from different sources varies considerably. A. petiolata is a compulsive biennial, and its foliage is rich in apigenin flavonoids. We compared the chemistry of different vegetative forms from different populations in the vicinity of Ithaca, NY throughout the year. Significant differences occurred in the number of apigenin derivatives in different populations and vegetative forms, and seasonal variations in the amounts of these compounds were found. We have previously isolated two major compounds, alliarinoside [(2Z)-4-(beta-D-glucopyranosyloxy)-2-butenenitrile] (1) and isovitexin-6-O"-beta-D-glucoside (3), which negatively affect development of P. napi oleracea larvae. Comparative analyses of these compounds in two populations throughout the year showed that their concentrations reached maxima twice annually. Foliage is almost devoid of flavonoids in June-July. Thus, variation in the chemistry of the plant may account for observed variation in development rates and survival of the larvae. Several apigenin compounds were isolated and identified by spectral studies.

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