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Morphology and Histology of bhunimba - Andrographis paniculata Nees

bhunimba :

Flowering plant, growing amongst weeds in Thailand Photograph by: Tony Rodd


A. paniculata is an annual profusely branched, erect herb extremely bitter in taste. It grows to a height of 30-110 cm in moist shady places with glabrous leaves and white flowers with rose purple spots on the petal. The stem dark green, 0.4-1.0 m in height, 2-6 mm in diameter, quadrangular with longitudinal furrows  and  wings  on  the angles  of  the  younger parts, slightly enlarged at the nodes; leaves glabrous, up to 8.0 cm long and 2.6 cm  broad,  lanceolate, pinnate;  flowers  small  and  solitary,  corolla  whitish  or  light  pink  in  color  with  hairs,  in  lax spreading axillary and terminal racemes or icles; capsules linear-oblong, acute at both ends, 1.9-0.3 cm; seeds numerous, subquadrate, yellowish brown.  


Transverse sections (hand sections) of the stem from the basal region (5.0 to 6.0 cm from base at maturity) and root (4.0 to 4.5 cm below base at maturity) were made  From fully matured plants (at fruit ripening stage; 110-125 days from sowing), and the sections were double stained using 1.0% Safranine (Merck, AR) dissolved in 50.0% alcohol and 1.0% Light green (Merck, AR) dissolved in 90.0% alcohol

Stem : Tetrangular in outline; angles shortly winged with projections consisting of 1 cell layer epidermis and groups of parenchymatous cells within; shallow between ridges; thin walled compactly arranged cells cover with thin cuticle and associated with glandular hairs outside; hypodermis 2 to 5 cell layer thick, often variable in the shallow region; cells more or less rounded to polygonal, equal or larger than epidermal cells, thin, compactly arranged, containing chlorophylls; cortical layers variable, 5 to 6 cell layer thick, up to 10 below the shallow area, rounded, thin walled, compact, parenchymatous without any contents; stele amphipholic siphonostele occupying maximum part of the stem, more spreading to the ridge area; a few sclerenchymatous cell groups of 2 to 4 or even solitary throughout the periphery of the vascular bundles; outer phloem thin layered, inner phloem mostly in patches; xylem interrupted with medullary rays; pith parenchymatous, cells polygonal to rounded, larger in size, thick walled, compactly arranged, without any content.
Root : Secondary growth visible; epiblema not distinct replaced by cork layer, differentiated into 3 distinct zones; peripheral cell layer loosely arranged, inner cells smaller, compactly arranged; stele occupying the maximum part of the root being the secondary growth; xylem and ray cells in distinct rows, primary vascular bundle crushed; pith insignificant having few parenchymatous smaller cells.

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