Alkanna Tausch is a member of the family Boraginaceae and is found throughout temperate and



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Introduction

The genus 

Alkanna Tausch is a member of the family

Boraginaceae and is found throughout temperate and

subtropical areas of the world, with a major centre of

distribution in the Mediterranean region (Heywood,

1978). Thirty-four species are found in Turkey: 76% of

which are endemic to Turkey (Davis, 1978; Özhatay,

1994; Güner et al., 2000).

Various local names are used for 

Alkanna species. The

names “Havaciva”, “E¤nik”, “K›z›lenik”, “Tüylüboya”, and

“Yerine¤i” are used for 

Alkanna tinctoria L.. Alkanna

orientalis (L.) Boiss. is known by the names “Tosba¤aotu”

“Kanburuyan” and “Kurba¤aotu” (Baytop, 1994). The

name “Boyaotu” is used for 

Alkanna cappodocica Boiss. &

Bal. and the names “Kökboya” and “Karakök” are used

for 


Alkanna pseudotinctoria Hausskn. ex Hub.-Mor. in the

vicinity of Aksaray (Ertu¤, 1999). 

Some 

Alkanna species are used as potherbs and for



dye. 

A. tinctoria is used to stain wood and marble and to

colour medicines, wines and cosmetics (Heywood, 1978).

A red dye is obtained from the roots of 

A. orientalis and

A. lehmanii Tineo (Blamey & Grey-Wilson, 1993; Baytop,

1994; Viney, 1994). The economic importance of this

species is unclear. Nevertheless, it is presumed to be used

in the medical and dying industries, like the other

members of the family 

Boraginaceae (Baytop, 1984). 

A. haussknechtii Bornm. is an taxon endemic to

Turkey and Irano-Turanian phytogeographic region

Turk J Bot

28 (2004) 591-598

© TÜB‹TAK

591

A Morphological and Anatomical Study on Endemic

Alkanna haussknechtii Bornm. (Boraginaceae),

Critically Endangered in Turkey

Öznur ERGEN AKÇ‹N

Ondokuz May›s University, Faculty of Art and Science, Department of Biology, Ordu - TURKEY

Nezahat KANDEM‹R, Arzu CANSARAN

Ondokuz May›s University, Faculty of Art and Science, Department of Biology, Amasya - TURKEY

Received: 26.02.2003

Accepted: 19.03.2004 

Abstract:

Alkanna haussknechtii Bornm., which occurs only in the vicinity of Amasya, is critically endangered. The morphological

and anatomical properties of the species, an endemic plant of the Irano-Turanian phytogeographic region, were investigated. The

root is perennial. The leaves are ecvifacial and have stomata cells that are anisocytic and anomocytic. The stomata index is 18.048

on the upper epidermis and 15.428 on the lower epidermis.

Key Words:

Alkanna haussknechtii, critically endangered, endemic, morphology, anatomy.

Türkiye’de Vahim Durumda Olan Endemik 

Alkanna haussknechtii Bornm. (Boraginaceae)

Üzerine Morfolojik ve Anatomik Bir Çal›flma

Özet: Sadece Amasya ve çevresinde yay›l›fl gösteren 

Alkanna haussknechtii Bornm. yok olma tehlikesi alt›ndad›r. ‹ran-Turan floristik

bölgesinin bir endemik bitkisi olan türün morfolojik ve anatomik özellikleri incelenmifltir. Kök çok y›ll›kt›r. Yapraklar ekvifasiyal ve

stoma hücreleri anizositik ve anomositiktir. Stoma indeksi üst epidermisde 18.048, alt epidermisde 15.428 dir.

Anahtar Sözcükler:

Alkanna haussknechtii, çok tehlikede olan, endemik, morfoloji, anatomi.



Research Note

elements. This species was first collected by Bornmüller

(1889) around Kirazl›dere on Mount Lokman (Amasya)

and was described as a new species by the same author in

1894. After 100 years 

A. haussknechtii species were

collected by Karaer and Cansaran (1998) on Mount

Karaman and around Yuvac›k village in Amasya. There are

few specimens in these areas. In these areas where this

species has been collected and seen if is under severe

threat and the risk of extinction is high because of

construction in Amasya and the annual cleaning of

vineyards. 

A. haussknechtii grows on steppe, forest

clearings, grassy plains and vineyards. Its altitude range

varies between 400 and 600 m (Davis, 1978). 

A.

haussknechtii has been previously reported in the CR



category (Critically endangered) (Ekim et al., 2000;

IUCN, 2001). 

Studies on its morphology are limited. The pollen

morphology of some 

Alkanna species were studied by

Do¤an and Sümbül (1997). The anatomical structure of

A. haussknechtii has not been studied. Therefore, the

purpose of this paper is to investigate the morphologic

and anatomic properties of 

A. haussknechtii.



Materials and Methods

Plant samples were collected from around Amasya.

These localities are listed below. Specimens were

preserved in the herbarium at Ondokuz May›s University,

Amasya Education Faculty. The plant numbers for 

A.

haussknechtii in 2000 and 2001 are given in Table 1.



A5 Amasya: Amasya, Karaman Mountain, roadside

and open areas, 500 m, 18.05. 2000, Akçin 1100.

A5 Amasya: Amasya, Education Faculty district, open

areas, 400 m, 19.05.2000, Akçin 1101.

A5 Amasya: Amasya, centre (fieyhcui district),

cultivation areas (vineyard field), 400 m, 22.05.2000,

Akçin 1102.

A5 Amasya: Amasya, high school, roadside and scrub

areas, 450 m, 26.05.2000, Akçin 1103.

A5 Amasya: Amasya, Yukar› Kale village, cultivation

areas (vineyard field), 600 m, 26.05.2000, Akçin 1104.

A5 Amasya: Amasya, Direkli, Yassݍal village, steppe

areas, 300 m, 04.06.2000, Akçin 1105.

The taxonomical description of the plants was carried

out according to Davis (1978). Fresh samples were used

for morphological measurements. Samples were fixed in

70% alcohol for anatomical studies. The paraffin method

was used for preparing cross – sections of root, stem,

and leaf (Algan, 1981). The length and width of the

stomata were measured with an ocular micrometer using

surface sections from the upper and lower parts of the

leaf epidermis. The stomatal index was calculated

according to the method described by Meidner &

Mansfield (1968).



Results

I- Morphological Properties (Figure 1)

Perennial. Root 4-7 cm long, dark brown. Stem 7-20

cm tall with few branches, glandular and eglandular hairy.

Leaves glandular and eglandular hairy. Basal leaves 1.5-3

x 0.2-0.4 cm, linear to oblong–lanceolate. Cauline leaves

2.2-2.8 x 0.3-0.5 cm. Bracts as long as calyx, narrowly

or broadly lanceolate. Calyx 4-8 mm in flower, 6-10 mm

in fruit, lobes linear-lanceolate. Corolla 7.5-10 mm,

glabrous outside, limb sulphur-yellow 5-lobed. Anthers 2-

3.5 mm, filaments 0.5-1 mm. Nutlets 4-6 mm in

diameter, tuberculate; beak strongly deflexed.

II-Anatomical Properties 

Root (Figure 2)

Periderm is multilayered on the other surface of root.

Elements of phellem are brown. Cortex is 15-20 - layered

and parenchymatic. Parenchymatic cells are 8-20 x 15-50

µ. Cambium cells are 2-3 - layered and distinguishable.

Primary pith rays are 2-4 - layered but sometimes 6-7 -

layered. Secondary rays are 1-2 - layered. In the pith a

primary xylem tissue is present. Secondary xylem has

hard sclerenchymatic cells and trachea. Root is red in

cross - section (Table 2).

592


A Morphological and Anatomical Study on Endemic 

Alkanna  haussknechtii Bornm. (Boraginaceae), Critically Endangered in Turkey

Table 1. Plant numbers for 

A. haussknechtii in 2000 and 2001. 

Locality

The plant numbers (100 m

2

)

2000



2001 

Amasya, high School

6

3

Amasya, Education Faculty district



5

0

Amasya, Direkli, Yassݍal village



10

4

Amasya, Karaman Mountain



5

1

Amasya, centre district (fiehycui)



6

2

Amasya, Yukar› Kale village



7

4


Stem (Figures 3,6)

Cuticle layer is thin. Epidermal cells are oval, single

layered and with thin walls. There are glandular and

eglandular hairs on the epidermis. They are 1-2 cellular.

Underneath the epidermis there is collenchyma with 3-4

- layered cells. Cortex parenchyma consists of 4-5 layers

of usually oval cells. There is a sclerenchymatic sheath on

the phloem part. Cambium is distinguishable and 1-2 -

layered. Xylem tissue is large. Xylem cells are

sclerenchymatic. Pith cells are large, cylindrical and thin

walled (Table 2).

Leaf (Figures 4 - 6)

Leaf is isobilateral. Leaves are covered by a thick

cuticular layer on both upper and lower surfaces. The

upper and lower epidermis consists of a single row of

cells in which the width and length are almost equal.

Ö. ERGEN AKÇ‹N, N. KANDEM‹R, A. CANSARAN

593


b

1 cm


4 mm

c

d



2 cm

a

Figure1. a: general appearance of 



A. haussknechtii, b: corolla and stamens, c: fruit, d: seed.

594

A Morphological and Anatomical Study on Endemic 

Alkanna  haussknechtii Bornm. (Boraginaceae), Critically Endangered in Turkey

pd

p



ph

c

sx



px

100 µ


t

Figure 2. Root, pd: peridermis, p: parenchyma, c: cambium, ph: phloem, sx: secondary xylem, t: trachea, px: primary xylem.

Table 2. Anatomical measurements of 

A. haussknechtii.

Broad (µ)

Length (µ)

Min

Max


Min

Max


Periderm cell

25

55



10

20

Parenchyma cell



17.5

30

10



17.5

ROOT


Cambium cell

20

22.5



7.5

15

Secondary ray



5

7.5


7.5

17.5


Primary ray

7.5


17.5

10

28



Diameter of trachea

15

45



-

-

Epidermis cell



10

15

10



15

Collenchyma cell

10

20

10



20

STEM


Parenchyma cell

15

60



20

40

Diameter of trachea



20

30

10



30

Diameter of pith cell

30

100


-

-

Cuticle



1.5

2.5


-

-

Upper epidermis cell



20

38

17



25

LEAF


Lower epidermis cell

15

30



20

40

Palisade paren. cell



12.5

17

34



42

Spongy paren. cell

18

45

20



22.5

There are many glandular and eglandular hairs on the

epidermis. Most of these are eglandular. They are

unicellular or multicellular. Palisade parenchyma cells are

1 or rarely 2 – layered and long and cylindrical on both

lower and upper epidermis. Palisade cells are rich in

chloroplasts. Spongy parenchyma cells are 1-3 - layered.

Ö. ERGEN AKÇ‹N, N. KANDEM‹R, A. CANSARAN

595


e

cl

p



s

ph

c



t

pr

60µ



Figure 3. Stem, e: epidermis, cl: collenchyma, p: parenchyma, s: sclerenchyma, c: cambium, ph: phloem, t: trachea, pr: pith region.

v

sp



p

s

ph



c

t

50µ



cu

ue

pp



pp

le

Figure 4.  Leaf, cu: cuticle, ue: upper epidermis, pp: palisade parenchyma, sp: spongy parenchyma, v: vascular bundle, cl: collenchyma, le: lower



epidermis.

There is a large vascular bundle on the median region of

the leaf. Vascular bundles are surrounded by a

parenchymatic bundle sheath. Collenchyma cells are

present under the lower epidermis. Collenchyma is 1-2 -

layered. The type of vascular bundle is collateral. Stomata

type is anomocytic and anisocytic. Stomata cells are

present in both the upper and lower epidermis. The

number of stomata is 74 ± 4 on the upper epidermis and

54 ± 3 on the lower epidermis of the leaf. The stomata

index is 18.048 on the upper epidermis and 15.428 on

the lower epidermis (Tables 2,3). 

Discussion

Alkanna species are used as potherbs and for red dye.

A. haussknechtii is an endemic taxon and this species was

only known from the type. No information on 

A.

haussknechtii was found in the literature except for some



morphological properties (Davis, 1978; Karaer &

Cansaran, 1998). Morphological characters such as shape

of leaf, corolla and nutlet, structure of bract and calyx

and properties of hairs at the stem, leaf and corolla were

used as taxonomic characters in determining the species. 

Although our results generally agree with the

description in the Flora of Turkey, a few differences were

also determined. Davis (1978) reported that basal and

596

A Morphological and Anatomical Study on Endemic 



Alkanna  haussknechtii Bornm. (Boraginaceae), Critically Endangered in Turkey

Table 3. Stomata features on the upper and lower epidermis of 

A. haussknechtii. 

Upper surface of leaf

Lower surface of leaf

Number of stomata (1 mm

2

)

74 ± 4



54 ± 3

Number of epidermis cells (1 mm

2

)

336 ± 5



296 ± 4

Stomata index

18.048

15.428


Stomata length (µ)

20-25 


20-25 

Stomata width (µ)

7-10

5-10


a

b

ec



st

25µ


a            b           c

e           f

d

0.5mm


Figure 6.  Hair types of stem and leaf a,c: eglandular hair of stem, e:

glandular hair of stem, a-d: eglandular hair of leaf, e-f:

glandular hair of leaf.

Figure 5. Surface-section of leaf, a: upper epidermis, b: lower epidermis, st: stoma, ec: epidermis cell, h: hair.



cauline leaves were 1-3 x 0.2-0.8 cm, the calyx was 4-6

mm in flower and 7-8 mm in fruit, and the nutlet was 2-

2.5 mm. In our study, basal leaves were 1.5-3 x 0.2-0.4

cm, cauline leaves were 2.2-2.8 x 0.3-0.5 cm, the calyx

was 4-8 mm in flower and 6-10 mm in fruit, the corolla

was 7.5-10 mm and the nutlet was 4-6 mm. Bract,

filament and anther sizes and hair properties are reported

here for the first time. 

Metcalfe & Chalk (1979) gave information about the

general anatomical characteristics of the family

Boraginaceae. There was no information about the

anatomical structure of this species. The root has primary

and secondary pith rays. Primary pith rays are 2-4 -

layered but sometimes they are 6-7 - layered. Secondary

rays are 1-2 - layered. In the pith a primary xylem tissue

is present. There is a thin cuticle layer on the stem.

Epidermal cells are oval, single - layered with thin walls.

There are glandular and eglandular hairs on the

epidermis. They are 1-2 cellular. The leaf was isobilateral.

It was reported that there was an anomocytic stomata in

the family 

Boraginaceae (Özörgücü, 1991). In addition,

Metcalfe & Chalk (1979) pointed out that there were

both anomocytic and anisocytic stomata in this family. In

this study, it was determined that this species had

anomocytic and anisocytic stomata. The numbers of

stomata on the upper and lower epidermis were 74 ± 4

and 54 ± 3 respectively. The number of epidermis cells

was 336 ± 5 on the upper epidermis and 296 ± 4 on the

lower epidermis. The stomata index was 18.048 on the

upper surface and 15.428 on the lower surface of the

leaf (Table 2). 

It was determined that spongy paranchyma increased

in the mesophyll in xerophytic plants (Esau, 1977; Fahn,

1982; Yentür, 1995). We found the same characteristics

in our research. 

This species was only known from the type (Davis,

1978). However Karaer & Cansaran collected 

A.

haussknechtii in the vicinity of Amasya (1998). There are



few specimens in these areas (Table 1). The species is

strongly affected by a number of factors (pollution,

extreme drought, annual cleaning of vineyards etc.)

because it occurs in cultivated areas. The investigation

results show that, the seeds of the species need special

environmental conditions to sprout. Unfortunately, seeds

have not sprouted for some 2 years due to extreme

temperatures and cold in the vicinity of Amasya.

Therefore this species has not been studied in terms of

chrosome numbers and morphology. 

A. haussknechtii will

prove to be an asset to the Turkish economy in the

future.

Ö. ERGEN AKÇ‹N, N. KANDEM‹R, A. CANSARAN



597

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