Author Topic: illicium verum vs. illicium anisatum  (Read 1062 times)

Jungle Yard

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illicium verum vs. illicium anisatum
« on: July 25, 2019, 06:49:52 PM »
One is pretty toxic (illicium anisatum) one is little toxic (illicium verum). Both look VERY similar. The latter is true star anise.
Can these two "star anise" plants be distinguished visually based on morphological features?
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pvaldes

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Re: illicium verum vs. illicium anisatum
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2019, 06:37:54 AM »
The real problem is when a product based in verum, is adulterated in part with the much cheaper anisatum. This is a serious problem that should be handed by professionals. Only a chemical analysis can identify it.

If you see many hexagonal calcium oxalate microcrystals under a microscope is a red flag of presence of anisatum (but not a guaranteed presence). Beware also that the lack of hexagonal crystals does not guarantee absence of poisonous anisatum in the product. You need a really good microscope to see it clearly, SEM is better, and is a really expensive machine.

Epidermis of seed is said to show a red fluorescence in verum (yellow in anisatum). Endospermum is said to show a blue fluorescence in verum (brown in anisatum). You need specialized lab stuff to see it and this patterns does not occur always so is not a reliable character.

There are differences in striation of cuticle and in shape and size of some specialized cells but they overlap extensively in both species. Unreliable

In resume: if you have the entire seeds the presence of 'big' astrosclereids in the columela tissue are the only reliable character. Branched microsclereids (astrosclereids) over 350 micrometers large is characteristic of verum. If you have a powder made of Illicium, only a chemical analysis can help you.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 06:57:04 AM by pvaldes »

Jungle Yard

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Re: illicium verum vs. illicium anisatum
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2019, 06:58:12 AM »
Thank you for your comprehensive reply. Iíve read these articles. These methods require special equipment. I was wondering about distinguishing actual plants by morphological characteristics.

I have a tree growing as Illicium verum. But I would like to confirm that and make a botanical identification.   
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pvaldes

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Re: illicium verum vs. illicium anisatum
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2019, 07:11:49 AM »
Morphologically there are some clues also. Both species had seeds of 7-8mm long. Anisatum up to 8.1, verum up to 8.8 mm. Anisatum can have slightly ticker seeds but the value overlaps extensively.

Seeds have a narrow eliptical scar in the conection with the fruit called hilum (hilum is engraved in the basal part of the seed). In one extreme of the concave hilum lies a convexe pimple/excrecence called strophiole. Strophiole is more or less rectangular in verum (the rectangle is arranged perpendicular to the hilum), but hemispherical (round) in anisatum
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 07:22:39 AM by pvaldes »

Jungle Yard

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Re: illicium verum vs. illicium anisatum
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2019, 07:23:10 AM »
Thank you! Thatís something I can check. Any distinctive characteristics in leaves or flowers?
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pvaldes

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Re: illicium verum vs. illicium anisatum
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2019, 07:26:07 AM »
Fruit shape looks different also to me (see fig 1.2) a little more plump, but assure you to check it. Is just an opinion based in a photo and I could be missing some specific variation

http://exa.unne.edu.ar/biologia/diversidadv/documentos/ANGIOSPERMAS/Angiospermas%20Basales%20y%20Clado%20Magnolides/Angiospermas%20Basales/Austrobaileyales/Austrobaileyales-Iliciaceae.pdf
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 07:39:17 AM by pvaldes »

Jungle Yard

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Re: illicium verum vs. illicium anisatum
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2019, 07:28:47 AM »
Thank you very much!
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pvaldes

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Re: illicium verum vs. illicium anisatum
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2019, 07:47:07 AM »
Thank you for asking such interesting question. Those are fascinating collector plants and I'm learning a lot

I have find one clue that really could help. Illicium verum smells typically like anise. It seems that Illicium anisatum does smell more like sassafras three or bay laurel instead.

There is also the possibility of having another species of Illicium. Those with red or pink flowers can be easily eliminated from the list, and american subgroup parviflora should had small (or scarce) flowers, but other asian species with white flowers should be checked also. Can you post pictures of flowers, fruits or leaves from your plant?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 07:55:46 AM by pvaldes »

Jungle Yard

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Re: illicium verum vs. illicium anisatum
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2019, 08:21:17 AM »
Just snapped these pics. Unfortunately, it is not flowering now.
Peculiar characteristic of the fruits on my plant - they are asymmetrical (but not all)







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