Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Economic Botany, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1972), pp. 44-48.


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 g-glucosidase, and that the liberated cis-o-HCA lactonizes spontaneously to form coumarin.