A STUDY ON “SANJEEVANI” (S. BRYOPTERIS) IN COMPARISON WITH ITS MARKET ADULTERANT S. INVOLVENSAbstract
Many species of the genus Selaginella P. Bauev. (family: Selaginellaceae) are used as traditional medicine. In India, S. involvens (Sw.) Spring and S. bryopteris (L) Bak are used for medical purposes. In some works, these two species have been treated as resurrection plants or ‘Sanjeevani’. These plants have considerable morphological similarity which can create confusion regarding the exact plant used as medicine by traditional practitioners. The present study focuses on the comparison of both species for confirming their identity as two distinct species and their potential as medicinal plants. They were compared for morphological and anatomical characters, megaspore ornamentation (SEM analysis) and phytochemical analysis (HPTLC of bioflavonoids, amentoflavone). Morphologically S. bryopteris appears to be a miniature form of S. involvens. Anatomically they differ in the stelar region with differences in the position and number of protoxylem groups and the shape of the vascular region. The general appearance of the megaspore and ornamentation of the spore wall had significant differences. A prominent difference was observed in the sizes of their spores too. The HPTLC fingerprint of the samples tested was also different indicating their existence as two species. The presence and quantity of amentoflavone in both samples also helped to confirm their potential as two distinct medicinal plants.