Main content area

Localisation of furanocoumarins in the tissues and on the surface of shoots of Heracleum sosnowskyi

Weryszko-Chmielewska, Elżbieta, Chwil, Mirosława
Botany 2017 v.95 no.11 pp. 1057-1070
Heracleum sosnowskyi, bergapten, crystals, essential oils, flora, fluorescence, forage, hairs, health hazards, humans, invasive species, lipids, methoxsalen, petioles, plants (botany), polysaccharides, psoralen, scanning electron microscopy, shoots, tannins, tissues, trichomes, Poland
Heracleum sosnowskyi Manden. was introduced in Poland as a fodder plant. Currently, it is regarded as an invasive plant posing a health hazard to humans and animals and a threat to native flora. The aim of the study was to localise furanocoumarins in the stem and leaf tissues. The investigations were carried out using light, fluorescence, and scanning electron microscopy as well as histochemical assays. The epidermis of the analysed organs bears live, non-capitate hairs with variable length, which contain lipids, essential oils, polysaccharides, tannins, and furanocoumarins. The observations performed with scanning electron microscopy revealed the presence of a foamy substance and furanocoumarin crystals on the surface of the trichomes and other epidermal cells, as well as in the parenchyma cells. Characteristic furanocoumarin autofluorescence was present in the epidermis and on its surface, as well as in the subepidermal parenchyma. Secondary fluorescence was emitted by furanocoumarins in different leaf petiole tissues: psoralen, bergapten, and xanthotoxin. We have detected for the first time the presence of furanocoumarins in different tissues of leaves in H.sosnowskyi. Furanocoumarins were also abundantly present on the epidermal surface of cells. This explains why the contact with the plant is dangerous to humans and results in development of photodermatoses.