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Introduction Eryngium caucasicum Trautv. (Apiaceae) is a perennial herbaceous plant with about one meter height, an endemic species that has been distributed in the northern parts of Iran (Ghahreman, 1997). The plant leaves are normally used in medicine and food industries in Iran (Khoshbakht et al., 2006). Eryngium caucasicum Trautv. has several medicinal properties including enforcing generative power, diuretic, lenitive and appetizer (Semnani et al., 2003; Trautv, 2004). The essential oils have already been extracted from the various parts (roots, stems, leaves and inflorescences) of eryngo (Pala-Paul et al., 2007; Pala-Paul et al., 2005; Capetanos et al., 2007; Cobos et al., 2002; Cardozo et al., 2004; Martins et al., 2003; Pino et al., 1997; Wong et al., 1994; Brophy et al., 2003). It is well-known that essential oil components are biosynthesized in the plants as secondary metabolites; therefore their composition is highly variable and depends on several factors, such as climatic conditions, harvesting time, plant cultivar and plant chemotype (Bylaite et al., 1998; Bylaite et al., 2000; Santos-Gomes and Fernandes-Ferreira, 2001). The essential oils of plants have usually been isolated by either hydrodistillation or solvent extraction. Variations in the yield and the composition of essential oil at different vegetation phases and different climatic conditions have already been reported in some species (Bylaite et al., 2000). Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess essential oils content and its composition of eryngo in vegetative and generative stages harvested from coastal and hill slope regions in the northern parts of Iran.

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