Economic Botany

, 65:283 | Cite as

Phytochemical Variation in Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don (Chuan Bei Mu) in Relation to Plant Reproductive Stage and Timing of Harvest1

  • Katie KoncharEmail author
  • Xiao-Li Li
  • Yong-Ping Yang
  • Eve Emshwiller


Phytochemical Variation in Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don ( Chuan Bei Mu ) in Relation to Plant Reproductive Stage and Timing of Harvest. Economic development in southwest China and the increasing use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) worldwide have led to intensified collection of native medicinal plants. Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don (Chuan Bei Mu), commonly used for the treatment of cough in TCM, is endemic to the Hengduan Mountain region of southwest China and is under increasing pressure from over-collection and decreasing suitable alpine habitat. The bioactive compounds in F. cirrhosa bulbs, isosteroidal alkaloids, are greatly influenced by environmental conditions and fluctuate in content and concentration with plant age and reproductive stage. Aiming at obtaining useful information for the sustainable management of wild F. cirrhosa populations, we evaluated how the phytochemical composition of F. cirrhosa bulbs varies at various stages of plant reproductive development. Using chemical methods and high-performance liquid chromatography, we extracted and analyzed two major bioactive alkaloids from F. cirrhosa bulb samples collected throughout the Hengduan Mountain region. Plant reproductive stage was found to affect the concentration of bioactive alkaloids in F. cirrhosa bulbs. Bulb alkaloid concentration was highest during the early stages of fruit development and decreased significantly with fruit maturation. These results lend biochemical support to the practice of harvesting F. cirrhosa during the early stages of plant senescence (i.e., early fruit development).

Key Words

Alkaloids Conservation Hengduan Mountains Local ecological knowledge (LEK) Phytochemistry Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) 

川贝母中化学成分的含量与繁殖期和采收时间的关系. 中国西南地区的经济发展以及传统中药在全球范围的使用加剧了对当地药用植物的采集。川贝母是一种用于治疗咳嗽的传统中药, 特产于中国西南的横断山地区。由于过度采集和高山自然生境的减少,川贝母种群正面临着越来越大的压力。异类固醇生物碱类化合物是川贝母的主要生物活性成分,该类化合物很大程度上受生长环境条件的影响, 并随植物的年龄和繁殖阶段的不同而变化。为获得关于野生川贝母可持续管理方面的有用信息 ,我们首先对川贝母的传统的采收活动做了调查和评价,在此基础上研究了采收时间对川贝母药效的影响。利用化学手段和高压液相分析技术, 对采自横断山地区不同生长期的川贝母进行了提取, 并分析了其中的两个主要活性生物碱类化合物的含量。研究结果表明, 植物的生殖期对生物碱类成分的含量具有显著影响,其含量在果实发育阶段最高, 而随着果实的成熟明显降低。该研究结果支持了地方性生态知识, 特别是支持应在植物枯萎的早期采集川贝母的传统习惯。



The authors thank Cecile Ané for help with statistical analysis, Ding Jingkai for the use and operation of the HPLC-ELSD equipment at KIB, Zhang Dequan and Wen Duanwen for their help with the collection of samples, and Kandis Elliot for help with figures. This work was supported by the IGERT Training Program on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in Southwest China at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (NSF award DGE# 0549369) and by a Davis award to K. Konchar from the UW–Madison Botany Department. K. Konchar’s interviews with Specialist and Local Collector were conducted in confidentiality and the names of interviewees are withheld by mutual agreement.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katie Konchar
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xiao-Li Li
    • 3
  • Yong-Ping Yang
    • 3
  • Eve Emshwiller
    • 4
  1. 1.Missouri Botanical Garden, William L. Brown CenterSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Kunming Institute of Botany, Department of EthnobotanyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  4. 4.Department of BotanyUniversity of Wisconsin - MadisonMadisonUSA

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