P. Tétényi
Although medicinal plants have the same general features comparing to any other useful ones, they are specialized by their differentiating characters related with all 5 aspects of botany, namely with morphology-anatomy, physiology, genetics, taxonomy and ecology. I presume that it would be wortwhile to discuss these special relations step by step and to evaluate their theoretical and/or practical importance.

The first speciality can be found in the morphological-anatomical qualities of medicinal plants. Having been historically the first, for pharmacognosy of the last century needed stable guarantees on therapeutical values of parts and organs of the utilized plants, all structural proofs were determined as serving the identity and demonstrating whatever forgery would deteriorate the quality.

This practical interest led the first time to the discovery of formules structured specially in medicinal plants, where the active ingredients were elaborated, and/or accumulated. Form and shape or colour and transparency of these inclusions are characteristic for any plant organ and are representing stable criteria on determination of origin in drugs - however are not excluded from living plant organisms far the more these might have been considered as accumulation in consequence of special reasons. There are many types of specialized organs like cystolithic cells, starch grains polygonal crystalloids and/or irregular filaments containing sieve-elements, and secretory structures (glandular hairs, schizolysigenous cavities and passages, laticiferous vessels etc. These organs facilitate when examining dried plant materia or powder of unknown source. Moreover the applied instruments have been developed to high sensitivity during the last decades mostly by use of electron microscop and by histochemical methods.

The morphological-anatomical peculiar features of medicinal plants can be found in the inhomogeneity of organisms considering their active principles. On the one hand the special accumulating cells or structures are not of the same frequency in all plant organs and on the other, products can be different depending on location in the various plant organs. The first statement of this second type inhomogenity was detected by Schratz in 1960 about differences found in the anthraquinone glycosid composition of Rheum emodi rootstocks. I continue here with our published results on content of alkaloid and of sesquiterpene lactone differences determined at different plant organs, demonstrated on Table l. Results gave complete evidency of qualitative differences existing inside the body of the examined individuals of the

Tétényi, P. (1987). BOTANY OF MEDICINAL PLANTS. Acta Hortic. 208, 15-28
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1987.208.1

Acta Horticulturae