, Volume 254, Issue 5, pp 1909–1922 | Cite as

Cytological analysis of ginseng carpel development

Original Article


Panax ginseng Meyer, commonly known as ginseng, is considered one of the most important herbs with pharmaceutical values due to the presence of ginsenosides and is cultivated for its highly valued root for medicinal purposes. Recently, it has been recognized that ginseng fruit contains high contents of triterpene such as ginsenoside Re as pharmaceutical compounds. However, it is unclear how carpel, the female reproductive tissue of flowers, is formed during the three-year-old growth before fruit is formed in ginseng plants. Here, we report P. ginseng carpel development at the cytological level, starting from the initial stage of ovule development to seed development. The carpel of P. ginseng is composed of two free stigmas, two free styles, and one epigynous bilocular ovary containing one ovule in each locule. Based on our cytological study, we propose that the female reproductive development in P. ginseng can be classified into seven stages: early phase of ovule development, megasporogenesis, megagametogenesis, pre-fertilization, fertilization, post-fertilization, and seed development. We also describe the correlation of the female and male gametophyte development and compare morphological differences in carpel development between ginseng and other higher plants. One unique feature for ginseng seed development is that it takes 40 days for the embryo to develop to the early torpedo stage and that the embryo is small relative to the seed size, which could be a feature of taxonomic importance. This study will provide an integral tool for the study of the reproductive development and breeding of P. ginseng.


Panax ginseng Ontogeny Ovule Ultrastructure Stages of carpel development 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Oriental Medicine Biotechnology and Graduate School of Biotechnology, College of Life ScienceKyung Hee UniversityYonginSouth Korea
  2. 2.Joint International Research Laboratory of Metabolic and Developmental Sciences, Shanghai Jiao Tong University–University of Adelaide Joint Centre for Agriculture and Health, School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Energy Plant Research LaboratoryMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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