Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Economic Botany (January-March 1972) 26(1): 44-48. Copyright 1972, Springer. Used by permission.


Fresh leaves of deer’s tongue contain large quantities (more than 10% of the dry weight, in some cases) of o-hydroxycinnamic acid (o-HCA). Both cis- and trans-o-HCA are present, and both isomers exist in the fresh tissue predominantly as glucosides. Cured deer’s tongue leaves contain relatively high levels of coumarin and lower amounts of o-HCA glucosides. It is probable that during the curing process cis-o-HCA glucoside is hydrolyzed by an endogenous β-glucosidase, and that the liberated cis-o-HCA lactonizes spontaneously to form coumarin.