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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 955: I International Symposium on Medicinal, Aromatic and Nutraceutical Plants from Mountainous Areas (MAP-Mountain 2011)

EFFECT OF SOIL IN THE GROWTH OF GENTIANA LUTEA RADICAL SYSTEM IN NORTH MOUNTAIN OF LÉON (SPAIN)

Authors:   O. González, S. Mayo, A. Rodríguez , P.A. Casquero
Keywords:   medicinal activity, bitter compounds, gentian, soil characteristics, root diameter
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.955.41
Abstract:
Gentiana lutea is a high mountain wild plant whose roots have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes in the northwest mountains of the Iberian Peninsula, mainly as a stomach tonic or to solve a lack of appetite. These medicinal properties are mainly due to bitter compounds such as amarogentin, gentiopicrin and swertiamarin, which are mainly found in the outer layers of the roots. The aim of the project was to establish the relationship between soil characteristics and the development of gentian root system in adult plants. Soil and underground part samples have been collected from twelve populations. The underground parts, conveniently called ‘roots’, has been separated in rhizome, principal and secondary (or lateral) roots. The diameter and cortex thickness of the roots were measured. The results show that there was a positive significant correlation between Mn and K content in the soil and the ratio between cortex thickness and the total thickness of the roots. A significant positive correlation was also found for altitude and cortex thickness in both primary and secondary roots.
In conclusion, high altitude and soils with elevated levels of Mn and K improved the growth and the quality of the roots.

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