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Sci Pharm. 2011 Jan-Mar;79(1):157-74. doi: 10.3797/scipharm.1010-05. Epub 2010 Dec 2.

Anatomy of subterranean organs of medicinally used cardueae and related species and its value for discrimination.

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Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090, Vienna, Austria.


Numerous species of the Asteraceae, the composites, are famous for their use in both traditional and conventional medicine. Reliable anatomical descriptions of these plants and of possible adulterations provide a basis for fast identification and cheap purity controls of respective medicinal drugs by means of light microscopy. Nevertheless, detailed comparative studies on root and rhizome anatomy of valuable as well as related inconsiderable composite plants are largely missing yet. The presented study aims to narrow this gap by performing anatomical analyses of roots and rhizomes of 16 species belonging to the tribe Cardueae, of formerly and currently used drugs as well as their near relatives as potential adulterations (Carlina acaulis L., Carlina vulgaris L., Arctium lappa L., Arctium tomentosum Mill., Carduus defloratus L., Carduus personata (L.) Jacq, Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop., Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten., Cirsium erisithales (Jacq.) Scop., Onopordum acanthium L., Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn., Rhaponticum scariosum Lam., Centaurea jacea L., Centaurea scabiosa L., Centaurea cyanus L., Cnicus benedictus L.). A detailed verbal and graphical survey of the analysed anatomical features is provided. Several characters were finally extracted which allow for discrimination of the examined species and may be effectively used for drug quality controls.


Asteraceae; Microscopy; Plant anatomy; Root anatomy

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