Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 215, Issue 1–4, pp 37–47 | Cite as

Seed oil fatty acid patterns of theAconitum-Delphinium-Helleborus complex (Ranunculaceae)

  • Kurt Aitzetmüller
  • Nanzad Tsevegsüren
  • Gisela Werner


Many members ofRanunculaceae contain unusual fatty acids in their seed oils. This leads to rather typical genus-specific fatty acid patterns or “fingerprints” in these seed oils. The members of theDelphinioideae and/orHelleboroideae, however, do not contain highly unusual fatty acids. Nevertheless, their seed oil fatty acid fingerprints are also fairly typical and genus-specific, and the patterns found are rather consistent throughout several species of one genus. It was found that species ofAconitum do not contain fatty acids with 20 carbon atoms.Delphinium, Consolida, Helleborus, Nigella and others do contain C20 fatty acids. In allHelleborus species, for example, there was a consistent C20 fatty acid pattern of 20:0≪20:1≫20:2>20:3. Species ofNigella andGaridella contain high levels,Helleborus low levels, of 20:2n-6 in their seed oils.Delphinium andAconitum both contain low levels of 18:3n-3, whereasHelleborus spp. consistently show high levels of this fatty acid. The genus-specific fatty acid patterns found are discussed, and a correlation with the subfamily and tribe affiliation of the genera investigated here is attempted.

Key words

Ranunculaceae Aconitum Delphinium Helleborus Nigella Seed oil fatty acids phylogeny evolution 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Aitzetmüller
    • 1
  • Nanzad Tsevegsüren
    • 1
  • Gisela Werner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Chemie und PhysikFette der BAGKFMünsterGermany

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