Species Diversity In Echinacea

There are nine species and four varieties of Echinacea native to North America according to McGregor's (1968) taxonomic treatment. The three species that are cultivated for phytomedicine production are E. purpurea (L.) Moench, E. angusti-folia (D.C.), and E. pallida (Nutt.) Nutt., but the wild harvesting of natural populations leads to introduction of other species into commercial products. For example, we have detected E. simulata in commercial samples and Bauer (1998) report contamination with Parthenium integrifolium. Recently, we have revised the genus using numerical taxonomy based on plant morphology and phytochemistry. (Binns et al., in press). In the revised taxonomy, 10 of the 11 taxa of McGregor are retained in the revision but there is a reduction in the number of species. This revision leads to a more coherent taxonomy, and should simplify future botanical identification. A similar study of the genus using Amplified Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) techniques is in progress (Baum et al., 2000). Pending publication of this revised taxonomy, the current article follows McGregor's taxonomy.

0 0

Post a comment