Preface

Aromatic and medicinal plants arc used in the food, flavour, perfumery, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Their use is expected to increase every year due to a consumer-led trend towards natural foods, food and cosmetic additives and complimentary medicine including aromatherapy. Many branches of industry are searching for alternative, cleaner antimicrobial, antibiotic, antioxidant and crop-protection agents. The possibility of utilising volatile oils is being investigated as it has been known since antiquity that they possess biological activities. During the last decade many books have been written about herbs and spices, chemical constituents found in various plant families and their uses.

However, very few research articles deal with the description of the sites where these chemicals are produced, either on the surface of the plants or internally. There is a distinct lack of illustrations which would help the reader to visualise these anatomical structures. An early acquaintance with micrographs of secretory tissues increases the appreciation of the relationship between the plant and its biochemical products.

This book is a source of useful terms and concepts for description of a variety of secretory structures, it does not cover the subject exhaustively but presents numerous examples and examines a few in detail. The reader is made aware of the endless variability in anatomical form and will therefore be better prepared to interpret the structure of other plant species and relate them to those described in this book. An exhaustive list of references collected over the last ten years gives the reader guidance for scientific approach to this area. Use of increasingly more advanced methods of microscopic studies has resulted in remarkable insight into plant anatomy, differentiation and development.

All photomicrographs are original, prepared by Microscopix from authentic plants and material. My botanical and phytochemicai interest, directed towards research on aromatic plants, unavoidably influenced the presentation of individual plant species. The problems of classification arc not resolved and the order of plant presentation is not related to taxonomy. The plants are presented in alphabetical scqucnce of their common names, supporting interpretations and conclusions that have been placed in the text. This method of organisation is simple, coherent and quickly permits the reader access to specific plates.

This book aims to be useful to both students and scientists with an interest in aromatic and medicinal plants and may be a valuable resource to all those involved in the research, development, cultivation, marketing and uses of these crops.

'Apricots are ripe With moonlight dripping On each fruit'

Haiku by Shibata Hakuyojo

PLATE 1

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