Anthocyanins that confer characteristic color to red copihue flowers (Lapageria rosea)

VERGARA, C.; VON BAER, D.; HERMOSÍN, I.; RUIZ, A.; HITSCHFELD, M.A.; CASTILLO, N.; MARDONES, C.
Journal of the Chilean Chemical Society 54 (2009) 194-197.

DOI: S0717-97072009000200023

Abstract

The Copihue (Lapageria rosea), also known as the Chilean bellflower, is the national flower of Chile and is the only species in the genus Lapageria. The copihue’s tepals are commonly red, with white or pink being less common. The red color of the copihue has been glorified in legends, poems and popular songs. The present work studies the pigments that confer red copihues their characteristic color. The principal types of cyanidin present in red copihue’s tepals are cyanidin-3-O-rhamnosylglucoside, followed by cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, and while only the latter is detected in pink tepals and neither one are detected in white flowers.

Based on the obtained results by HPLC-ESI-MSn and HPLC-DAD, it is concluded that rhamnosyl- and glucosyl-derivatives of cyanidin, which present respectively an absorption maximum at 518 and 516 nm, confer the characteristic red color to red copihues. Furthermore, glycosilated cyanidin derivatives, pigments derived from other anthocyanidins, were not detected in red copihue flowers even when they are present in other red flowering plants.

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