Comparative authentication of three "snow lotus" herbs by macroscopic and microscopic features

Qilei Chen, Tao Yi*, Yina Tang, Lai Lai Wong, Xiaoxuan Huang, Zhongzhen Zhao, Hubiao Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


"Snow lotus" is a famous Chinese Materia Medica derived from species of the genus Saussurea (Compositae). To differentiate three representative easily-confused snow lotus herbs, namely, Saussurea involucrata (Kar. et Kir.) Sch.-Bip, Saussurea laniceps Hand.-Mazz., and Saussurea medusa Maxim., macroscopic features of the three herbs were systemically observed, and microscopic features were compared by using ordinary light microscopy, polarized light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results indicate that, as for macroscopic identification, capitula situation and arrangement, and as for microscopic identification, pollen grains, nonglandular hairs, glandular hairs, and cells of inner surface of the microdiodange can be used to authenticate the three snow lotus herbs. Comprehensive table comparing the characteristics were presented in this study. SEM has been found to provide a number of unique characteristics of pollen grains. Based on the observation of pollen grains, evolution sequence of the three species was speculated. The present method was proven to be efficient, convenient, simple, and reliable, which was successfully applied to the authentication of three snow lotus herbs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-641
Number of pages11
JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
Issue number8
Early online date20 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Instrumentation
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

User-Defined Keywords

  • snow lotus
  • Saussurea
  • ordinary light microscopy
  • polarized light microscopy
  • scanning electron microscopy


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