Bulk material () consists of pieces of rhizome, stem and inflorescence. Many rhizome pieces are observed attached to its host root. The pieces are transversely or longitudinally cut to about 10 cm in size. They are mild brown to muddy brown or dark brown to black in color. Rhizomes, stem and inflorescence pieces can be easily identified and separated out. In general, they are rough and hard in texture, nearly odorless, and easy to break with splintery ends.
Market sample of Balanophora fungosa
Rhizome pieces are up to 6 cm in size. They are lobed or branched or bunched or with palm-like branches. Their surface is shrunken with pustule-like mild or light colored raised dots. Cut ends are dark brown to black in color. Resinous substance is oozing out from few points of rhizomes when they break.
Stem pieces are transversely or longitudinally cut. Most of them are circular, plate like, dark brown, up to 7 cm in diameter and 2-5 mm in thickness. In cut ends, no specific pattern or tissue differentiation is observed. Few longitudinally cut pieces show nodes and internodes with leaves. The surface is rough but not warty. Leaves are up to 5x3 cm in size, dark brown to black in color, acute in apex, base broad, margin and surface are smooth, nearly triangular in shape and up to 2 mm in thickness. Epidermis is not peeling off and break with splintery ends.
Inflorescence pieces are mostly cut longitudinally. They vary in shape from globose to oval. Seeds and pollens are not observed. Young buds are nearly globular to oval with bract coverings and indistinct inner regions, whereas matured ones show fragments of persistent bracts with exposed flower parts.
Microscopically, rhizome () is simple with outer epidermal-like cells, and encloses the ground tissue and vascular bundles. Epidermal-like cells are single layered with thick deposits on the outer side. These deposits are stained for both lignin (using phloroglucinol solution) and cellulose (using IKI solution). Ground issue is undifferentiated, parenchymatous with intercellular spaces and 30-320 μ in size. Vascular bundles are arranged in a ring in the ground tissue. Number of bundles differs with the size of the rhizomes, from 7 to many. Each bundle has outer phloem followed by xylem and central parenchymatous, smaller sized cells. In phloem cells, tanniferous cells are observed. Owing to the observations in dried materials, other cellular details in phloem and cambial cells are not observed. Xylem has vessels and fibers, traversed with ray cells, which are single layered but not restricted always. Vessels are 7.5-55 μ in diameter. Surrounding to the vascular bundles, parenchyma cells in ground tissue are smaller in size and make a clear boundary. Apart from these regular vascular bundles, numerous vascular traces are observed in the ground tissue, which are scattered throughout. These traces have few fibers, one or two vessels and undifferentiated phloem cells. Tanniferous cells are absent in vascular traces.
TS of rhizome shows outer layer (OL), ground tissue (GR), vascular traces (VT) and vascular bundle (VB)
Microscopically, stem (), leaves () and inflorescence are identical to rhizome in outer epidermal-like cells and ground tissue. However, in stem and inflorescence, regular vascular bundles are completely absent and vascular traces are scattered throughout. In leaves, epidermal deposits are more on the abaxial surface than the adaxial surface. Vascular traces are found in a row in the middle of the ground issue. Vessel elements are smaller in size (7.5-20 μ in diameter). Stomata are not observed on the epidermal surfaces of leaves or stem.
TS of stem shows outer layer (OL), ground tissue (GR) and vascular traces (VT)
TS of leaf shows hte epidemis (AD & AB), ground tissue (GR) and vascular traces (VT)
Many of the parenchyma cells of ground tissue are filled with dark brown or black colored resinous substance. Other cell inclusions like starch, calcium oxalates and aleurone grains are not observed.
Powder is dark brown to black in color. Parenchyma cells are most common with few vessel elements and lignified epidermal cells. Parenchyma cells are 120-350 μ and vessel elements are 10-50 μ in size.