The plant Plumbago rosea Linn., belonging to the Plumbaginaceae family, is an important medicinal herb distributed in part of Southeast Asia, and there are many reports of its pharmacological properties. However, the allelopathic activities of P. rosea have not been examined. Thus, the present study was conducted to assess the allelopathic activity of P. rosea and to identify its allelopathic substances. The aqueous methanol stem extract of P. rosea significantly suppressed the seedling growth of barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli L. P. Beauv.), Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.), timothy (Phleum pretense L.), cress (Lepidium sativum L.), lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). The extract of P. rosea was then purified through chromatographic steps, and two active substances were isolated and determined as 7,4′,5′-tri-O-methyl dihydroquercetin and 7,4′,5′-tri-O-methylampelopsin. The two compounds significantly inhibited the seedling growth of cress, with 7,4′,5′-tri-O-methylampelopsin showing a greater inhibitory effect than 7,4′,5′-tri-O-methyl dihydroquercetin. This result may be due to the 3′-OH group in 7,4′,5′-tri-O-methylampelopsin. The effective concentrations of both compounds required for 50% growth inhibition (EC50 values) of cress seedlings were 0.24 mM and 0.59 mM for root and shoot, and 0.07 mM and 0.21 mM, respectively. These findings suggest that the two compounds may contribute to the allelopathic effect of P. rosea and could be used as a natural source of allelopathic substances.
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