Polygonum chinense L

[From Greek, polus = many and gonos = angled and from Latin, chinense = from China]

Physical description: It is a perennial, rhizomatous herb which grows to a height of 1 m in wet valleys, mixed forests, thickets in valleys, and the grassy mountain slopes of China, Taiwan, the Himalayas, Japan, India, Malaysia and Philippines, from sea level to 3000 m. The stems are ligneous at the base, multi-branched, pinkish, striate, glabrous or hispid and sour-tasting.

Common names: Mountain knotweed, Chinese knotweed; huo tan mu (Chinese).

Leaves: simple and alternate. The ochrea is tubular, 1.5cm-2.5cm long, membranous, glabrous, veined and oblique at the apex. The petiole is 1cm-2cm long, and auriculate at the base. The blade is ovate, elliptic or lanceolate, 4cm-16cm x 1.5cm-8cm, and glabrous or hispid. The base of the blade is truncate or broadly cordate. The margin is entire, and the apex of the blade is shortly acuminate. The Inflorescences are long and thin axillary clusters of very small flowers. The flowers are white or pinkish and comprise of a perianth made of 5 ovate lobes which are accrescent in fruits. The andrecium consists of 8 stamens with blue anthers.The gynecium includes 3 styles which are connate at the base. The fruits are broadly ovate, trigonous, black achenes included in the perianth (Fig. 79).

Fig. 79. Polygonum chinense L.

Pharmaceutical interest: 25-R-spiro-st-4-ene-3, 12-dione, stigmast-4-ene-3, 6-dione, stigmastane-3, 6-dione, hecogenin and aurantiamide acetate characterized from this herb are anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic (Tsai PL et al, 1998). Note the similitude of chemical structures of these steroids and the anti-inflammatory drug betamet-hazone (Fig. 78).

Continue reading here: Subclass Dilleniidae Takhtajan 1966

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