Variability in Chemical Composition and Abundance of the Rare Tertiary Relict Pinus heldreichii in Serbia
Nikolić, Biljana M
Ristić, Mihailo S.
Orlović, Sasa S
Drazić, Dragana M
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The particular significance of the whitebark pine (Pinus heldreichii Christ.) stems from the fact that it is a tertiary relict and Balkanic subendemite covering a very narrow and intermittent area in Serbia. A representative pool of 48 adult trees originating from three populations, one recently discovered natural (Population I) and two planted populations (Populations II and III) was investigated in order to evaluate the intra-and interpopulation variability of the essential oil of the complete fund of P. heldreichii in Serbia. In the pine-needle-terpene profile, 104 compounds were detected, 84 of which could be identified. Among the essential-oil constituents, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes dominated, comprising ca. 90% of the essential oil. The terpenic profile of Population I was characterized by a predominance of monoterpenes (e. g., limonene (1), alpha-pinene, and Delta(3)-carene (4)), while sesquiterpenes (e. g., germacrene D (2) and beta-caryophyllene (3)) obviously preponderated in the profile of Populations II and III. This study also demonstrated that the abundance of whitebark pines in Serbia had significantly changed over the last few decades. The number of individuals in the natural population had increased, while the number of individuals in the planted populations had decreased. Today, the whitebark pine fund in Serbia comprises less than 250 trees.