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Gretchen Hatch and Albert H. Markhart III

The concentration of active ingredient in a given dry weight of a medicinal herb is important to the consumer and producer of herbal remedies. Feverfew is a commonly used medicinal herb where the active compound has been identified. There is considerable variability in the amount of the active ingredients in different genotypes of feverfew. Important secondary plant compounds are often produced in the trichomes of leaves. The objective of this investigation is to determine if there is a correlation between the number of leaf trichomes and the level of active ingredient in several feverfew genotypes. Rooted cuttings of feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) genotypes previously characterized for parthenolide content were grown under identical conditions in an environmentally controlled greenhouse. Light and scanning electron microscopy were used to describe and quantify the number and type of trichomes on the youngest fully expanded leaf of each plant from each genotype. The relationship between trichome number and parthenolide content will be presented.