Microscopic Description

The German Pharmacopoiea (DAB) includes a microscopic as well as a macroscopic description of Viscum album. Epidermial cells of young shoots are papilliform, those of aged shoots tangentially elongated and the cells are divided by thin cross walls. Stomata of the paracytic type are very large. The guard cells are located in pits and partly covered by papilliform auxiliary cells. The cleft is rectangular to the shoot axis.

In cross section there are several, usually eight vascular bundles which are accompanied by two bundles of fibers each. The pith is partly hollow. The cell walls of wood parenchyma, pith parenchyma and pith rays are greatly thickened and pitted. They contain druses of calcium oxalate (see Fernandez, this book) with a diameter of about 30 to 40 pm, with a grey well marked centre in the middle. On the leaves the cells of the epidermal layer are covered by a thick cuticle. Stomatas of the paracytic type are found on both sides of the leaves. Guard cells on the leaves are less exposed as these on the shoots. The mesophyll cells contain the same druses of calcium oxalate as mentioned for the shoots. In addition there are starch granules of 8 and 15 mm length or small refractive droplets.

The pulverised drug is yellow-green. It is examined after heating in a solution of chloral hydrate (80 g in 20 ml water). The powder shows the following characteristics: druses of calcium oxalate of 30 to 40 pm diameter, stomata of the paracytic type whose guard cells are located in pits and partly covered by the papillate auxiliary cells; cells of the epidermal layer with greatly thickened cell walls; papillate cells of the epidermal layer of young shoots; cells of wood parenchyma, pith parenchyma, and of pith rays highly thickened and pitted.

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