Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia
Print version ISSN 0102-695X
LO, Stella M. S. and DUARTE, Marcia R.. Morpho-anatomical study of the leaf and stem of pau-alecrim: Holocalyx balansae . Rev. bras. farmacogn. [online]. 2011, vol.21, n.1, pp. 4-10. Epub Feb 04, 2011. ISSN 0102-695X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-695X2011005000015.
Holocalyx balansae Micheli belongs to the Fabaceae family and is called pau-alecrim in Portuguese. In folk medicine, it is indicated to treat heart, hepatic and digestive upsets, as well as being considered anti-septic and diaphoretic. This work aimed to study the morpho-anatomy of the leaf and stem of this native medicinal species, in order to increase knowledge of the Brazilian flora and to contribute to pharmacognostic quality control. Samples of mature leaves and young stems were fixed and either sectioned free-hand or embedded in glycol-methacrylate and sectioned by microtome, then stained. Microchemical tests and scanning electron microscopy were also performed. The leaves are alternate, compound and paripinnate, and the leaflets have a lanceolate shape. Anomocytic and anisocytic stomata are found exclusively on the abaxial surface. The mesophyll is dorsiventral and the midrib, in cross-section, is flat on both sides, showing one collateral vascular bundle, encircled by a sclerenchymatic and crystalliferous sheath. The rachis and petiole present a collateral vascular bundle with a centric arrangement. The stem presents phellogen localized superficially. In the vascular cylinder, there is a sclerenchymatic sheath and continuous phloem and xylem cylinders, both traversed by narrow rays. Prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate are present in the leaf and stem.
Keywords : Prismatic crystals; Brazilian species; morpho-anatomical diagnosis; medicinal plant.