Localisation of bioactive compounds in the leaves of Hedera helix L. (Araliaceae) – a medical and cosmetic plant

Aneta Sulborska

University of Life Sciences in Lublin

Elżbieta Weryszko-Chmielewska

Magdalena Kamińska


Hedera helix (common ivy) is an attractive climbing and groundcover plant. Its leaves containing various bioactive compounds are used in medicine and cosmetology. The aim of this study was to present the functional leaf anatomy and histochemical analyses localising various secondary metabolites in ivy leaf blade
and petioles. Light and fluorescence microscopy and 8 histochemical tests and 3 fluorescence assays were
used. The leaf tissues contained phenolic compounds, phenolic acids, flavonoids, pectinous/mucilagous substances, acid lipids, essential oil, terpenoids, and steroid-containing terpenes. They are mainly responsible
for the biological and pharmacological activity of H. helix leaves. Most of these secondary metabolites were
present in the epidermis, mesophyll, phloem, and epithelial cells. In turn, they were not found in the xylem
and sclerenchyma tissues.


common ivy, secondary metabolites, histochemical assays, anatomy of leaf, fluorescence microscopy

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Aneta Sulborska 
University of Life Sciences in Lublin
Elżbieta Weryszko-Chmielewska 
Magdalena Kamińska 



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