Experimental botany.


Polish Academy of Sciences, Botanical Garden-Center for Biological Diversity Conservation

supplemented: 2015-07-01


The  Gentianaceae,  or  Gentian  family,  is  worldwide  in  distribution  with approximately 100 genera and about 1800 species that include monocarpic and perennial herbs, shrubs, trees, and lianes, with terrestrial and epiphytic representatives. The plants are diverse in habit, the majority being herbaceous. The tropics are the main source of new species of the Gentianaceae. Gentiana (360 species), Gentianella (250 species), and Swertia (135 species) are the three largest genera; members of the family are protected by law. Several species are important pharmacologically because of their secondary metabolites, as some of the compounds have a broad spectrum of biological activity. Initial contacts with Gentians often occur during childhood when skin is protected from bacterial infection by Gencjana (Polish) or Violetum Gentianae (Latin), while children suffering from chicken pox are also painted with Violetum to counteract infection by Herpes  virus  varicellae. The importance of Gentians escalated in the 1980s when several studies at the plant level focused on the vegetative propagation of species, such as Gentiana  lutea  and G.  cruciate , following the recognition of the secondary products synthesized by some members of this genus. Research into Gentians, especially in Poland, was stimulated further by the publication of the “Red Book” of the Polish Flora. This volume included reference to numerous Gentians and Gentianellas, with the need for their multiplication and reintroduction into the wild because of destructive overcollection of wild material for pharmaceutical use, combined with the loss of natural habitats. Some species are now rare and endangered. Variation in plant habit, especially flower morphology and pigmentation, also makes members of the Gentianaceae attractive for outdoor and indoor cultivation. The establishment of the Web site “Gentiana.pl ” supplemented the earlier reference site “Gentiana Research Network” established by Dr. Lena Struwe at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, USA.Much deliberation, contacts at the scientific level and discussions with colleagues at Springer resulted in the compilation of these two volumes on Gentians. Volume 1 includes contributions to the characterization of this family of plants, while Volume 2 is devoted to the aspects of biotechnology and their applications.


Volume 1: Characterization and Ecology

Volume 1, comprising 12 chapters, centers upon the characterization and ecology

of the Gentianaceae, with some emphasis on the application of molecular and cytological approaches in relation to taxonomy. The first three chapters considerclassification of this family of plants, with Chap. 2 reviewing research progresssince the earlier revision of the Gentianaceae in 2002. This revision resulted in reclassification of some plants and the naming of new genera. genera. Chapter 3 provides the most comprehensive report to date of the systematics of South American Neotropical woody members of the Gentians, with discussion of the use of cytological and molecular technologies to facilitate classification. Other reviews (Chaps. 4, 5) include details of the Gentianaceae in The Ukraine and Balkan Peninsula, with discussion of the taxonomy of representative species in these regions. Floral pigmentation in members of this family has been a topic of investigation for many years, with the key biochemical steps that result in the diversity of flower colors found in Gentians being summarized in Chap. 6. Other aspects of this diverse, interesting group of plants include the cytology of European species (Chap. 7), and a historical account of the importance of Gentians in herbal medicines, with links to evolution and classification (Chap. 8). Analysis of gene expression in overwintering buds is presented as an approach with which to study several aspects of plant taxonomy, phenotypic characteristics, phylogeography, and pedigree (Chap. 9). Two (Chaps. 10, 11) indicate the importance of Gentians in India in terms of their exploitation as herbal-based medicines, but emphasize the need for conservation to negate the loss of germplasm from natural habitats resulting from random harvesting. Finally, Chap. 12 presents evidence for the importance of fungi from the Phylum Glomeromycota in developing arbuscular mycorrhizal associations with the roots of members of the Gentianaceae. The role of such associations in plant growth and development is also discussed. Volume 1of the Gentianaceae provides a general, broad-based foundation for more biotechnological approaches that are considered in Volume 2.


Volume 2: Biotechnology and Applications

The Gentianaceae includes species which are popular as ornamentals in the form of cut flowers and pot plants, with market demands necessitating improvement in flower quality, particularly characteristics such as in florescence longevity. Micropropagation has become a routine procedure for multiplication of horticultural genera, including Blakstonia, Centaurium, Genetiana, Gentianella, withseedlings being the most common source of explants for plant propagation in vitro. Although organogenesis is the main route of plant regeneration, somatic embryo genesis is also a pathway in routine use for plant multiplication. These approaches are discussed in detail in Chaps.1–6. Embryogenic cultures, such as cell suspensions, are an excellent source of protoplasts for gene transfer by somatic hybridization and cybridization. The relevance of the latter technologies (Chap. 7) is that they generate nuclear and cytoplasmic combinations normally unavailable to plant breeders through conventional sexual hybridization. Techniques presented in Volume 2 also include the generation of haploid and dihaploid plants from cultured anthers, and the genetic variation that may arise from tissue and organ culture (Chaps. 8 and 9). Subsequent chapters discuss the molecular breeding of Gentians, particularly gene transfer by transformation, with associated genetic analyses (Chap.10). Molecular markers facilitate breeding and cultivar identification. Vegetative propagation to generate genetically uniform populations and, conversely, manipulations to increase genetic variability, often rely upon cryopreservation as a common technology for long-term storage of relevant germplasm (Chap.11). Other reviews consider the postharvest physiology of Gentian flowers (Chap.12), and the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, including antimalarial compounds (Chaps.13–18). Modification of secondary metabolites has application in human health protection. Interestingly, the beauty of Gentian flowers and the pharmaceutical value of the plants have been the reasons for the special interest in the Gentianaceae since ancient times.

These two volumes should serve as key references for persons from a wide range

of disciplines, including students and staff of universities and institutes, as well as

professional gardeners and plant hobbyists.

Jan J. Rybczyński

Michael R. Davey

Anna Mikuła


The Gentianaceae Volume 1  - Characterization and Ecology



Contents (Volume 1)


1. Morphological characteristics of the family Gentianaceae                      1 - 12

Pringle J. (Canada)


2. Classification and evolution of the family Gentianaceae             13 - 35

Struwe L. (USA)


3. A monographic revision of the neotropical genus                                  37 - 147

Macrocarpaea  (Gentianaceae) in Ecuador

 Grant J.R (Switzerland)


4. A review of the taxonomy and distribution of the                                  149 - 168

Gentianaceae in the Ukraine     

Shiyan  N. M. (Ukraine)


5. Distribution, ecology and some taxonomical notes of the                  169 - 200

            genera Gentiana L. and Gentianella Moench

(Gentianaceae) in the Balkans

            Stevanovic V. and Jakovlević K. (Serbia)


6. Biochemical and morphological determination of floral                 201 - 218

colour in the Gentianaceae

Młodzińska E. (Poland)


7. Karyology of European species of genus  Gentiana L.                  219 - 230

Kunakh V.A. (Ukraine)


8.  Twenty first century centauries – an updated review                    231 - 250

            of Centaurium Hill and allies (Gentianaceae)

Mansion G. (Germany)


9. Genes expressed in the overwintering buds of                                251 - 265

Gentiana triflora: Application to taxonomic,

 phylogenetic and phenologeographic analysis

Tsutsumi K., Hikage T. (Japan)

10. Exacum bicolor  Roxb.  an exquisite, under exploited                  267- 278

wild ornamental

            Unniampurath Baburaj S., Baburaj T.S. (India)


11. Indian Swertia from Eastern Himalaya: Strategies                          279 - 301

for conservation and biotechnological improvement

SamaDARt., Jha S.,  Jha T., B.(India)

12. The role of arbuscular mycorrhiza in the growth and                   303 - 316

development of the Gentianaceae

Sykorova Z. (Czech)



The Gentianaceae : Volume 2 -  Biotechnology and Applications




Contents (Volume 2)


1. Systems for plant regeneration in gentian cultures                              1 - 44

Rybczyński J.J., Davey M*., Tomiczak K., Niedziela A.,

 Mikuła A. (Poland/ *England)


2. In vitro manipulation and propagation of Gentiana species                 45 - 79

 from Ukrainian flora

Drobyk N.M., Hrytsak L.R ., Mel'nyk V.M., Kravets N.B.,  

Kovaliuk I.I.,  Twardowska M.O.,Kunakh V.A. (Ukraine)


3.  In vitro studies  and biotechnology of Taiwan native                            81 - 92

species of the Gentianaceae

Tsay H-S., Gupta S.K., Huang S-H., Kuo C-L., Chueh F-S.,

            Chang H-C.  (Taiwan)


4. Biotechnology and phytochemistry of Gentianella species                93 - 112

from the central regions of the Balkan Peninsula

Krstić –Milosević D., Vinterhalter B., Janković T.,Vinterhalter D.




5. The role of arabinogalactan proteins in the morphogenesis              113 - 138

of Centaurium erythraea Rafn. in vitro

Trifunović M.,  Subotić A., Petrić M., Tadić V., Jevremović S.



6. Somatic embryogenesis in long-term cultures of Gentiana                131 - 161

 lutea in the presence of stress factors

Holobiuc I.   (Romania)


7.  Protoplast culture and somatic cell hybridization of gentians          163 - 185

.           Tomiczak K.,   Mikuła A.,  Rybczyński J.J. (Poland)


8.  Haploid and doubled haploid production in gentians                         187 - 197

(Gentiana spp.)

 Doi H.,  Takahata Y. (Japan)


9. Genetic variation induced by tissue and organ culture in                   199 - 238

Gentiana species

Kunakh V.A., Mel'nyk V.M ., Drobyk N.M., Andreev I.O.,

Spiridonova K.V., Twardovska M.O.,. Konvalyuk I.I.,

Adonin V.I. (Ukraine)


10. Molecular breeding of Japanese gentians – application of               239 - 265

genetic transformation, metabolome analyses, and

genetic markers

Nishihara M., Mishiba K., Imamura T., Takahashi H.,

 Nakatsuka T. (Japan)


11. Cryopreservation of Gentianaceae: trends and applications           267 - 286

Mikuła A., Tomiczak K., Rybczyński J.J. (Poland)


12. Post-harvest physiology of flowers from the family                           287 - 305


Fisun G. Çelikel (Turkey)



13. Tissue and organ cultures of gentians as potential                            307 - 317

sources for xanthones and flavonoids

Drobyk N.M., Mel'nyk V.M., Twardovska M.O., Konvalyuk I.I.,

Kunakh V.A. (Ukraine)


14. Bioactive secondary metabolites in several genera of the                319 - 347

 Gentianaceae: species of the Central Balkan Peninsula

Šavikin K.,  Aljančić I.S., Vajs  V.E., Milosavljević  S.M.,

 Jadranin M., Đorđević I., Menković  N.R. (Serbia)


15. Prolfiling, isolation, chemical characterization and                             349 - 381

distribution  of  Gentianaceae constituents

Wolfender J-L., Urbain A., Hostettmann K. (Switzerland)


16. Phytochemistry and biotechnology of the genus Exacum               383 - 401

            Skrzypczak-Pietraszak E. (Poland)


17. Gentianae Radix                                                                                            403 - 419

Buchwald W., Mikołajczak P.Ł. (Poland)


18. Gentians used in South America as antimalarials                421 - 437

Lima R.B.S., Frausin G., Brody S., Struwe L*.,

Pohlit A.M. (Brasil/USA*)