Taxonomic Implications of Artemisia annua L.

  • Sadia Malik
  • Muhammad Qasim HayatEmail author
  • Muhammad Ashraf


Artemisia annua L. (sweet sagewort) belongs to genus Artemisia L. of family Asteraceae and tribe Anthemideae. Artemisia L. approximately comprises of about 500 taxa and considered as largest genus of Asteraceae. A. annua, which are now widely and naturally distributed in various regions of the world (temperate, subtropical zones, Asia), have originated from China and are introduced and naturalized in Canada and USA. later on. On the basis of fossil records and phytogeographic data, it has been discovered that the Quaternary was the main time period for the variegation and dispersal of the taxa worldwide. Globally, many countries are currently cultivating A. annua on a large industrial scale, as it is a key source of a potent antimalarial drug, artemisinin. In this chapter, we will set out its origin, geological distribution, and phytography emphasizing on important characters, for instance pollen as pollen morphology is considered as worthy systematic marker for genus Artemisia. Furthermore, special protuberant structures viz. glandular trichomes and their role in artemisinin and various other phytotoxic secondary metabolites will be addressed. The second part of the chapter will draw attention to the possibilities and methods used to solve mysteries of Artemisia systematics on subtribal, generic, and subgeneric level over time. To date, for systematic studies at all taxonomic levels, none of the techniques alone is considered sufficient. In conclusion, the perspectives and issues for the further study of the plant and genus will be raised.


Glandular Trichome Pollen Morphology Farnesyl Diphosphate Ethnobotanical Knowledge Artemisinin Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sadia Malik
    • 1
  • Muhammad Qasim Hayat
    • 1
    Email author
  • Muhammad Ashraf
    • 1
  1. 1.Medicinal Plants Research Group, Department of Plant BiotechnologyAtta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences (ASAB), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST)H-12 IslamabadPakistan

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