Solanum dulcamara L. (Bittersweet): Accumulation of Steroidal Alkaloids in the Plant and in Different in Vitro Systems

  • A. Ehmke
  • U. Eilert
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 21)


Solanum dulcamara L. (= Dulcamara flexuosa Moench) (Fig. 1), known as dogwood or bittersweet (Solanaceae), is a clambering or prostrate, perennial shrub which may grow to a height of 2 m (Hegi 1927). Its stem is angular and woody with the exception of the herbaceous top and ranges in diameter between 0.25 and 2 cm, rarely up to 5–6 cm. The leaves are alternate, long-stalked, sparsely pubescent on both sides, and quite variable in shape. The oval- to egg-shaped leaf blade is pointed at the tip. Its base, however, may also be cordate, arrow-shaped, or may consist of one or two lobes. Different leaf forms may be found on the same plant. The flowers emerge axillary in panicle-like loose clusters. The calyx bears five narrow teeth; the five joint petals are bright purple and their tips are somewhat reflexed when fully expanded. The five stamens have yellow anthers which form a conspicuous column. The fruit is a round- to egg-shaped berry, green when young and becoming bright red when mature. In Europe, the flowering season is May to September. It is distributed throughout Europe and is also a native to North Africa, West Asia, India, the USSR, China, and Japan. It is not clear whether its occurrence in North America is of native origin or whether it was introduced from Europe. Growth habitats of the plant are wet meadows, ditches, and poplar-alder forests, but it may also grow on dry and sandy soils, waste areas, between gravel or rubble, and in clefts of old walls. The variability in morphological appearance, habitat, and its wide distribution gave rise to the description of several subspecies and varieties. Their taxonomic significance and position, however, is not quite clear and is further complicated by the occurrence of chemovarieties.


Solanum Species Steryl Ester Alkaloid Content Alkaloid Production Friable Callus 
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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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Ehmke
  • U. Eilert
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität BraunschweigInstitut für Pharmazeutische Biologie der TechnischenBraunschweigGermany

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