Inspector Lungershausen of Moscow, reports in No. 27 of Wochenschr. f. Gärtnerei und Pflanzenkunde, that the hitherto unknown plant yielding musk, or sumbul root, is now in bloom in the botanical garden at Moscow. When the Russians occupied Bucharia, the plant was discovered and several roots were sent to Moscow, of which but one arrived in good condition. This new umbelliferous plant it was hoped would produce fruit and thus be propagated in Europe. The root has been used in Russia with considerable success in Asiatic cholera.
Professor C. Koch regards the plant as a very interesting one, on account of the strong musk odor of its root, and because the musk deer lives in the same regions. The root has been known for about thirty-five years, without, however, sustaining the high reputation it has gained in Russia, so that it belongs already to the obsolete remedies. It is now mainly employed in perfumery in place of the high priced musk. There may, possibly, be two musk roots, both indigenous to Central Asia, one being exported through Russia, the other from the East Indies.
The musk root contains about 9 per cent. of a soft oleoresin, obtainable by ether, which in contact with water has the odor of musk. It contains a peculiar acid, sumbulic acid, which appears to differ from angelicic acid and from umbelliferon. It has been long known that the root belongs to an umbelliferous plant; flowers and fruits have sometimes been found with it. The latter differing from those of other umbelliferae, were made the type of a new genus, and the plant was named Sumbulus moschatus.—Hager's Ph. Centralhalle, 1870, NO. 39, 367, 368