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Structural and Histochemical Features of the Slow-Growing Perennial Coptis chinensis Franch. (Ranunculaceae)

Jingyuan Yang1, Jie Zhou1, Jiaojiao Jin1, Yi Li2, Xia Zhang3, Teng Li3, Mengdi Zhang3, Xiaodong Cai3, Chaodong Yang3, Cunyu Zhou3,*

1 Hubei Province Key Laboratory of Conservation Biology for Shennongjia Golden Monkey, Shennongjia National Park Administration, Muyu Town, 42400, China
2 Ningxia Jiesi Environmental Protection Technology Co., Ltd., Yinchuan, 750000, China
3 Engineering Research Center of Ecology and Agriculture Use of Wetland, Ministry of Education, Hubei Key Laboratory of Waterlogging Disaster and Agricultural Use of Wetland, Yangtze University, Jingzhou, 434025, China

* Corresponding Author: Cunyu Zhou. Email:

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Plant Ecophysiology: Recent Trends and Advancements)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2021, 90(6), 1685-1696.


Huanglian (Coptis chinensis Franch.) is a slow-growing perennial medicinal herb with considerable economic value. This study aimed to determine the structural characteristics and the levels of berberine deposits in the organs and tissues of Huanglian using light and epifluorescence microscopy. The adventitious roots are composed of primary and secondary structures with endodermis, exodermis, and phellem. The rhizome structures are composed of primary and secondary structures with cuticle and phellem. The leaves are composed of sclerenchymatous rings, isolateral mesophyll, and thin cuticles. We detected berberine in the xylem walls of the roots and rhizomes as well as in the sclerenchymatous rings of the petioles. We postulate that as the exodermis is developed, the deposition of berberine in the xylem closest to the root tips may affect water and nutrient absorption and transfer. Leaf blades had a thin cuticle and isolateral mesophyll, suggesting shade tolerance. These structural and histochemical features suggest that Huanglian is adapted to the slow growing nature of a shady environment.


Cite This Article

Yang, J., Zhou, J., Jin, J., Li, Y., Zhang, X. et al. (2021). Structural and Histochemical Features of the Slow-Growing Perennial Coptis chinensis Franch. (Ranunculaceae). Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 90(6), 1685–1696.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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